The Colorado Avalanche played the Calgary Flames for the second time this year last night.
With the Flames being only four points ahead of the Avalanche for the wild card this game had far more implications in the standings for both teams.
Cale Makar did not participate in yesterday’s morning skate before the game or in the optional skate the day before. Coach Jared Bednar told the media that he has been declared as day-to-day for the time being with an injury. Losing Makar could be decisive to all aspects of the game as he is part of the penalty kill and the power play. The Avalanche made the game look easy without Makar in the lineup
- Brad Hunt has been moved to the second pairing and second power play unit. He has looked like the best defenseman so far this game.
- Despite not having Cale Makar, the Avalanche are still maintaining their aggressive offensive play toward the zone.
- Artturi Lehkonen has now scored five goals in three games after scoring two in this period alone.
- The penalty kill could use a lot of work. It was really messy and allowed a few shots but made it through. The kill is missing Makar though as I mentioned earlier.
- Mikko Rantanen scored 30 goals in just 43 games, breaking the franchise record held by Joe Sakic, who did it in 44 games.
- The three-game break for Alexandar Georgiev has done him some good as he looks more relaxed than he has been in some time.
- The defense needs to watch for cherry-picking forwards. This has been an issue in the last few games with the opposing forwards sneaking past the defense and waiting at the blue line for a pass.
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- Erik Johnson could have done a better job on the penalty kill to block the shot. He turned to his side and stopped moving. What he should have done was go down to a knee while letting his momentum take him toward the shooter. This would have taken down the shooting lane.
- The Avalanche have been talking about not being able to play a full 60 minutes. With about ten minutes left in the game, they started allowing the Flames right through the neutral zone.
Colorado now has won three games in a row after losing six of the previous seven games before that. The last loss against the Chicago Blackhawks on January 12th became the team’s wake-up call that they needed. Since the loss, the Avalanche have scored 17 goals in the three wins. This is coming from a team that was struggling to score when playing at even strength. The Avalanche have started to turn things around and show tonight that they were able to play without their Norris Trophy defenseman. They took a big lead out of the first and were able to hold off the Flames the entire game with a 4-1 victory.
Player of The Game
Mikko Rantanen— He scored his 30th and 31st goals of the year and added an assist to the tally as well. The right winger has been carrying a heavy load this season with 25 goals at even strength. Tonight Rantanen had only two shots on goal and was plus-2.
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