The Colorado Avalanche ended their five-game road trip with a visit to Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night to face the booming New York Rangers. After conceding 20 goals in the first 4 games of the trip, a familiar action this season, the team is in dire need of a solid defence. While the Avalanche limited Rangers to three goals, the defensive story was not one. Colorado scored five goals in the second period to beat Rangers 7-3, breaking New York’s seven-game winning streak.
Rangers are in their second head-to-head game, and it shows. They looked tired and out of sync at times and couldn’t match the Colorado’s speed and agility. New York starts rookie Adam Huska in goal, who is making his NHL debut. He saved 32 out of 39 shots.
Here are three takeaways from the game.
Avalanche’s scoring depth
The 13 players on the Avalanche roster had at least one point on the evening, and five of those 13 had a multi-point match. The three best performances of the contest went to Nazem Kadri, Logan O’Connor, and Mikko Rantanen. Kadri, who seemed to be named every game, had one goal and two assists, ending the night with the team’s best plus-four rating. Efficiency give Kadri 34 points in 22 games of the season, placing him in 4th place in the league, behind only Connor McDavid (43), Leon Draisaitl (43) and Alex Ovechkin (41).
O’Connor and Rantanen each had two goals in the game; O’Connor’s scored just 22 seconds apart at the end of the second half. The pair of goals ended the young striker’s 10-match goal drought and gave him his first goal-scoring game. He ended the night with a rating of plus 3.
Two other Avalanche players had remarkable performances. Rookie Center Alex Newhook had a goal for the third game in a row. After being sent to the Colorado Eagles, the American Hockey League (AHL) branch of the Avalanche, open season, Newhook is starting to find his footing again, showing why the team picked him in the first round (16 finals) of the 2019 NHL Draft. Following the departures of Joonas Donskoi and Brandon Saad in the off-season. , the team needed Newhook and O’Connor to play at a high level.
Captain Gabriel Landeskog had an assist on the night, extending his streak to nine games. Having recently extended his eight-year contract, which will likely see him still wear the Avalanche sweater for the rest of his career, the Stockholm, Sweden-born is quietly putting together one of his best seasons. him, averaging over one point per game, something he’s done once before (2018-19).
With seven goals, Colorado has lifted their season average to 4.26 goals per game, best in the NHL – Their 3.43 goals per game, however, is sixth worst in the league.
Kuemper Back to Net
Avalanche’s defensive difficulties in the first four games of the run were partly due to the play of their third and fourth goalscorers, Jonas Johansson and Justus Annunen (respectively). Johansson was called in to fill in on the team’s starter, Darcy Kuemper, who was injured just hours before the first game of the trip against the Toronto Maple Leafs, a match that Avalanche lost 8-3. (The team’s second-scorer, Pavel Francouz, is on rehab with the Eagles and is expected to rejoin the Avalanche soon.)
Kuemper was back in the lineup against Rangers last night and saved 26 of his 29 shots. It’s not a stellar performance, but it’s better than what Avalanche has seen in days and good enough to allow an attacker to take control of the game.
Kuemper was briefly off the field in the second half when he had a problem with his right pad. This is the third time this season he there was a device problem. Johansson was in the grid while the matter was resolved; he recorded a save.
Trouba Is Trouba
For the second game in a row, Rangers defender Jacob Trouba delivered a suspicious strike, this time on Nathan MacKinnon midway through the second half. While the attack was deemed legal, Trouba took the lead with MacKinnon’s shoulder and head, sending superstar Avalanche down the ice first and then into the “quiet room” for evaluation.
Landeskog, who had a reputation for protecting his teammates, immediately took off his gloves and challenged Trouba. The two fought to a half-draw, although Landeskog received a penalty for unsportsmanlike behavior for instigating it, giving Rangers a power play. MacKinnon, who scored a goal in the game, returned in the third inning.
The night before that, Trouba ordered another one big blow to open the ice on the Chicago Blackhawks forward Jujar Khaira. As it did with MacKinnon, Trouba led by shoulder and caught Khaira in the head. Khaira was taken out of the bandages on a stretcher and rushed to the hospital. He was released on Wednesday and is expected to make a full recovery, although no timetable for his return has been announced yet.
After reviewing the hit to Khaira, the NHL Player Safety Bureau decided not to penalize Trouba, this drew the fury of some around the tournament. Whether or not it succeeds on MacKinnon will be considered.
Next for Avalanche
Avalanche finished the trip with a 3-2 record and were 10-2-1 in their last 13 games. They are in second place in the Central Division. The team returned to the Ball Arena home in Denver on Friday to face their old rival, Detroit Red Wings.
https://thehockeywriters.com/avalanche-3-takeaways-victory-over-rangers-december-8-2021/ 3 takeaways from Colorado Avalanche’s 7-3 win over Rangers