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Snowed under: Avalanche snap Jackets’ point streak

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The Avalanche can come at you quickly

Colorado Avalanche v Columbus Blue Jackets Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images

Tonight’s heavyweight tilt featured the Matt Calvert and his Colorado Avalanche against Kevin Stenlund and his Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets took a lead halfway through the game but couldn’t hold it. Two goals on two good shots earned the win, 2-1, for the Avalanche. The CBJ point streak came to an end after 10 games. Here are your details.

First Period

Colorado starts off the game with an interesting lineup twist. Nathan MacKinnon between his 4th line wingers – Matt Calvert and Joonas Donskoi. Perhaps a way to get Calvert on the ice early and…I dunno, spook Torts? Well, nice to see Calvert start the game. Perhaps it gives the team an early spark as the Avalanche control play for the first 90 seconds of the game. MacKinnon would be back with the 1st line for his second shift.

Colorado is awarded an early power play. The most exciting part was a shorthanded rush by the Jackets. The exciting part comes from Nick Foligno missing the net with his shot which leads to a 3 on 1 for Colorado. However, the Avalanche couldn’t get a good shot off and the PP ends with a whimper. Shortly thereafter, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Oliver Bjorkstrand take off on a 2 on 1 which – after a scramble – results in a wide open net, but a good defensive clear short-circuits Markus Nutivaara’s chance.

With about 14 minutes left, Columbus earns its first power play of the night. The only notable… note… is that Matt Calvert is still very good at penalty killing. A couple of minutes after that power play, PLD and Gabriel Landeskog both go to the box and we have some 4v4 time. Both teams trade chances and possession but near the end of that segment, Seth Jones makes a move towards the net, loses his edge, and awkwardly hits the side of the net with his skate. Jones would make his way to the dressing room. This is a nightmare scenario.

CBJ earn another power play but it has no life. The team in general has no life for the last 5 minutes of the period – basically since Jones left the game.

Colorado almost gets one behind Elvis Merzlikins. A deflection ahead of the King goes over him, hits the crossbar and a post and slides out past the goal mouth. The Avalanche started celebrating, but the puck never went in.

The period would end with Columbus having an edge in SOG – 6-9 (nice!) – but Colorado seemed to control more of the play. Don’t Fancy St@ me, Bro!

Second Period

Jones is back! Probationally – the team doctor stays in the tunnel to keep an eye on Jonesy. This period might just turn into a Jones Vigil.

Colorado starts the period in control and they are being helped by more poor passing by the CBJ forwards. The Avalanche don’t need the help. The Jackets finally show signs of life about 5 minutes into the period with a flurry of moves around Philipp Grubauer, but he doesn’t have to work too hard.

The Avalanche are whistled for too many men and the power play goes back to work. The Jackets earn an early chance with an empty net after Foligno gets Grubauer on the ice, but the last Jacket with the puck chooses to…pass it!? The chance flitters away.

However, this only sets up a joyous moment. Boone Jenner wins the faceoff back to Seth Jones who snipes a wrister past Grubauer. The CBJ lead 1-0.

The positive? Jackets lead! The negative? Jones reacted like shooting that puck really, really hurt. I hope I’m not seeing storm clouds build on the horizon.

Shortly afterwards, Nazem Kadri gets a clear shot on Elvis and then throws up his hands in disgust after Elvis flashes the leather. Frustration is a good thing to see from the Avalanche.

Cam and Boone Jenner try a little give and go later in the period that Grubauer has to fight off. We need to see more of Cam Atkinson. After watching Jones, I’d be fine if he sits out the rest of the game.

With just over 5 minutes left, Colorado is called for cheating again and the CBJ get another PP. However, the Avalanche have no problem clearing the puck. The PP ends with a whimper.

Matt Calvert and PLD do a fair amount of chirping – we know Calvert doesn’t back down from anyone – but nothing doing yet. The period ends with Colorado on the power play. One more shot off the post adds to the excitement, and Elvis thanks them with a quick smooch.

Shots remain low for both teams, but Columbus seemed to control more of the 2nd period.

Third Period

The Jackets kill off the rest of the Colorado power play and then Emil Bemstrom earns another power play for the CBJ. Not a lot of excitement here, but Cam Atkinson closes out the advantage with a good opportunity on Grubauer. However, it seems like the effort may have aggravated his ankle injury and he heads to the bench in discomfort.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have played a lot of this period as if they are content to focus on throwing wooden shoes at Colorado’s gears. Yet, they are also out-shooting the Avalanche this period. It’s an odd juxtaposition.

Atkinson doesn’t miss a shift and with just over 8 minutes gone in the third, Riley Nash’s line puts serious pressure on Grubauer including a shot off the crossbar. The Jackets have outshot the Avalanche 11-1 with 9 minutes gone in the period and both teams have hit a lot of iron today.

I have to point out one of those little plays that can make a big difference. Andrew Peeke gets the puck at the blue line and seems to briefly consider making a cross ice pass before dumping it deeper into the zone. In his earlier appearances, he tried that kind of pass. This time, he dismissed it. Nuti looked open at the other end, but Colorado seemed to also be leaning towards the blue line. They were looking for the pass. Good awareness by Peeke.

Colorado finally breaks through after 12 minutes. A turnover in the offensive zone allows Nazem Kadri a clear look at Elvis from the faceoff dot. A quick snipe later and the game is tied at 1. I know we try to assign blame to every goal allowed, but this seemed like good execution by Colorado. They forced the turnover and quickly capitalized.

The goal seems to energize Colorado as they force Elvis to make 3 more saves over the next couple of minutes. Prior to Kadri’s goal, the Avalanche had only put one shot on goal in the third. Columbus certainly didn’t do much to respond.

This was too bad as with just under 5 minutes left to play, Colorado takes advantage of a gap in coverage. Boone Jenner is in for the faceoff and immediately heads off after winning it. David Savard clears the puck out with a quick flip, but only to the neutral zone. With Jenner leaving the ice, the defensemen shifted slightly towards the bench…which left Nathan MacKinnon with just a bit more room to operate. That’s what he’s been waiting for all game. MacKinnon receives a quick pass, skates into the zone, and unleashes an elite laser of a shot top-shelf, just under the crossbar, and over Elvis’ shoulder. I don’t normally show the opponent’s goals but…this was just ridiculous.

The loss of the lead finally gets the CBJ offense moving a bit and Elvis is pulled with 2 minutes left in the period. The Jackets pressure but can’t get one past Grubauer and Colorado wins the game 2-1. The CBJ win- and point-streaks come to an end.

Random Musings

  • Colorado is the kind of opponent that reminds me of how imprecise Jenner and Foligno can be. In a way, they played the Jackets’ way by intercepting every slightly off pass the CBJ forwards tried to make
  • Shot suppression was pretty good most of the game, but when Colorado finally found space to operate, they took full advantage
  • The defense structure and play did its job. Colorado averaged almost 4 goals a game coming in – they only got 2. The offense, unfortunately, only got 1.
  • That one goal was a power play goal, which is good. However, the Jackets couldn’t cash in on any of their other four power plays.
  • Seth Jones is hurt. I don’t want him to stay hurt. If he needs to sit out a game, he should. He’s too important.