For the first time ever in the 2018-19 NHL campaign the hometown good guys Colorado Avalanche finished a week without a winning record. The bright side, well… they didn’t finish with a losing record, either. The Avs split their four game week with two wins against the Philadelphia Flyers and the Ottawa Senators, and dropped two against the Tampa Bay Lightning and against bitter division rival Minnesota Wild.
COL 4-1 PHI
Domination was in order to kick off the new week of hockey. The triple nine team of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen showed up to dominate yet again. Both MacK and Rantanen extended their points streak to nine straight games, a franchise record to start the season. Rantanen scored twice, with MacKinnon snagging an assist on Rants’ first goal. Landeskog also scored a goal, and overall, the top line put up 5 points in the game. Semyon Varlamov got the start and saved 29 of the 30 shots he faced.
TBL 1-0 COL
While watching this game unfold, I wanted to scream and rip the hair out of my head. It was frustrating. The tape-to-tape passing was bad, the Tyson Jost line looked off, having J.T. Compher out was a massive blow to the lower lines. Biggest of all, the Tampa Bay Lightning dominated the Avalanche in puck possession. Although the Avalanche still were able to generate over 10 scoring chances, Tampa held the Avs to just 22 shots in a 1-0 shutout. It marked the first shutout the Avs have been held to of the year and marked the end of Rantanen and MacKinnon’s streak. After the game though, there was not doubt that the Avalanche had played their heart’s out. The team stood up to the Lightning toe-to-toe all three periods, even while Tampa dominated possession. For the Avalanche’s first national TV debut of the year, the team gave the country a show.
OTT 3-6 COL
Well this game was just chock-full of major storylines. Matt Duchene made his first return to Colorado to play the Avalanche since being traded to the Ottawa Senators a year prior. Want to talk about a return? Well good ol’ Dutchy scored twice in the game, his first coming right after the Avalanche gave him a little tribute on Pepsi Vision. Duchene’s two goals helped the Senators take a 3-1 lead over the Avalanche, but an explosive four goal third period completely deflated the Senators as the Avs scored five unanswered to win 6-3. Speed can kill in hockey, and it was the key to the full ice tilt seen in this game. The Avalanche were just too fast of a team and wore down the Senators through the second period.
COL 2-3 MIN
Ouch. The rivals up north are getting hot. How hot? Well with their victory over the Avalanche, it amassed to their fifth straight win of the year. Overall, this match was pretty even overall. The Minnesota Wild came in as a hot and streaky team, and their play showed it. A power play goal given up by Varly in the second period gave the Wild a 2-1 lead. And a shorthanded 6-on-4 empty net goal Jonas Brodin sealed the deal for Minnesota. Landeskog did net a goal with less than a minute to play to bring the score to 3-2 and put his goal total in double digits with 10 on the year. For the second game of a back-to-back, there wasn’t much negative to say other than the team lost to their rivals.
At the end of the week, the Avalanche still reign as a team that scores fast and often. The team boasts the best line in hockey with the triple nine line racking up 55 points. Mikko Rantanen leads the entire league in scoring with 21 points, three more than second place’s Avs centerman MacKinnon and Chicago Blackhawk Patrick Kane. Landeskog sits sixth in overall scoring with 16 points.
The Avalanche get a full week to recuperate before heading back on the road for another back-to-back trip in Canada before another five days of rest.
Nov. 1 @ Calgary Flames
Nov. 2 @ Vancouver Canucks
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