Jonathan Drouin and Ryan Johansen got the scoring started, and Ivan Prosvetov was a brick wall in net, stopping 30 of the 31 shots sent his way. MacKinnon added the other goal, and the Avalanche moved into sole possession of first place in the Central Division with a 3-1 lead. It wasn’t exactly the best game to watch, as both teams looked sloppy having come into town late at night, but Colorado did just enough to get the win.
Both of these teams played just the night before, and both of them had to travel. You know what that means, right?
And the first period was sloppy as can be. Both teams took penalties in the first three minutes of the game, and just after the game hit the five minute mark, the Flames decided to take another penalty.
Colorado’s powerplay wasn’t looking so hot, struggling to even enter the zone, but on their first clean zone entry, they made the Flames pay.
Nathan MacKinnon worked his way through Flames forecheckers in the neutral zone, which got the fans excited. He sent it to Rantanen along the right wall, who dropped it to a speeding Jonathan Drouin. The 28 year old winger cut around one Flames forward, and went straight to the slot, firing a wrister past Dan Vladar’s blocker, giving Colorado the early lead.
With that goal, he’s already surpassed his goal total from Montreal last season, where he only picked up two goals.
The rest of the period, the Flames completed about three combined passes, and Colorado carried the lead into the second.
Colorado got a slight scare in the first period, as Cale Makar took an Elias Lindholm shot off his wrist, but he came back for the second period and looked just fine.
The hockey, however, did not get much better. There were a lot of shot attempts on both sides, but not a lot that I would categorize as dangerous.
10 minutes in, the Avalanche took advantage of a Flames mistake, and Ryan Johansen showed some speed that I’m not sure Colorado fans have seen from him yet. After blocking a dump in with his skate, he was off to the races. He picked up the puck all alone near the bottom of the left circle, but didn’t have much of an angle. In a super intelligent play, he got Vladar to bite on the shot, and whipped around behind the net for the wrap-around, which worked. Probably one of the slicker goals the Avalanche have scored this year, and it extended the lead to two.
Calgary got one back just under two minutes, taking advantage of a failed clear by Colorado off a face-off win, but 34 seconds later, MacKinnon broke through for the first time in over two weeks.
On a fairly innocuous rush up the ice, MacKinnon pulled up near the blueline. Traffic started to build towards Vladar, including Val Nichushkin, and MacKinnon sent a soft wrister towards the net. It worked, because Vladar couldn’t see it at all, and the two goal lead was restored, a lead they took into the third.
Things got a little fiery in the third period. After Ross Colton had multiple chances on one shift, things got really heated in front of the net. Miles Wood was taken down by Rasmus Andersson, and then piled on by Weegar. Both Wood and Weegar basically screamed at each other on their way to the box, and I’ve never seen Wood so animated. Andersson got the extra two, but the Avalanche didn’t do anything with the powerplay.
The rest of the period belonged to Ivan Prosvetov. The young netminder, making just his third start with Colorado, stopped all 15 shots sent his way by the Flames. Some of them were top tier. Adam Ruzicka was left all alone in the slot at one point, and Prosvetov got across to stop him with his blocker. With time winding down, he robbed Jonathan Huberdeau on the doorstep.
Prosvetov had to settle for the third star on the night, but in my mind, he probably should have been first.
With the victory, the Avalanche moved to 14-6, and are on a nice little 6-1 run right now, with the only blip being their collapse in Nashville.
Colorado will stay at home and take on the Lightning on Monday night. That game starts at 7 PM MST.