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Avs Down Blues, 4-1

February 19, 2023, 4:07 AM ET [4 Comments]
Jordan Boutilier
Colorado Avalanche Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Avs down Blues, 4-1

The Colorado Avalanche met with the Blues today, and without the leadership of Ryan O’Reilly and the skill of longtime Blue Vladimir Tarasenko, the Avs took the victory by a score of 4-1. Lets recap what happened!

Before the game, some interesting announcements from the Avalanche side: Josh Manson would miss this game, and Avalanche All-Star Cale Makar would be making his return to the lineup. Manson’s first game back against the Minnesota Wild Wednesday after missing 2 months with an injury was a fun one to watch; Manson recorded an assist, 5 blocked shots, 4 hits, and was an overall menace to every Wild player he encountered. Fans may have been a bit surprised, but Manson missing this game was planned. With a back to back situation this weekend, the Avs wanted to ease Manson back into game action.

Back to today’s contest! The Avalanche also made the decision to start 22 year old goalie Justus Annunen, with the intention of not running starter Alexandar Georgiev in back to back games, with second game being against McDavid and the high flying Oilers. Annunen was not tested much in the first half of the game, with the Avs outshooting the Blues 15-5 in the first period alone.

Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen started off the scoring in the first with a nice give and go. Rantanen threw a pick and opened up a passing lane, and MacKinnon threw the puck across. Rantanen fired it past Jordan Binnington, and the Avs took a 1-0 lead.

Going into the 2nd period, the Avalanche continued to carry the play, with Rantanen firing a pass to Bowen Byram. Byram joined the rush and carried the puck in, snapping it through Jordan Binnington to bring the score to 2-0. It cannot be understated how Bowen Byram has looked more confident on the offensive side of the puck in the last several games, and this game was a great highlight of that.

Finally, the Blues gained a bit of life. Samuel Girard with the puck deep in the Colorado zone, and with plenty of time, fired a bullet pass up the ice, which ended directly on the stick of Logan Brown, the former Ottawa Senator’s draft pick, and this started the Blues rush back into the Avalanche zone. One nice tic-tac-toe play later, Sammy Blais scored his 2nd goal in 4 games after being re-acquired from the New York Rangers earlier in the month.

Moving into the 3rd period, the Avalanche jumped on an early power play, and with plenty of traffic in front, the puck was passed from Lekhonen to Nichushkin, who redirected it in for a 3rd goal. Avalanche lead, 3-1.

Later in the 3rd, the Avalanche jumped on another power play, and after Binnington stopped a slot shot from J.T. Compher, the puck jumped back out in the slot. Samuel Girard fired a pass to Byram, who sent a rocket of a shot into the net for his 2nd goal of the game.

Annunen stopped 19 of 20 shots for the 2nd win of his young NHL career. He was not tested early, but did have to come up with several saves in the 3rd period to keep the Blues out of this one. He did not look out of place, and ended up with a .950 save percentage.

Byram ended up with 2 goals, and looks to be bringing his game back to the A level he showed last year in the playoffs.

Girard, Rantanen, Compher and MacKinnon all ended up with 2 points, and the recently haggard powerplay ended up at 50%, going 2 for 4 on the day.

This was a great start to the weekend for the Avalanche, and hopefully we see a healthier defensive core tomorrow, with Makar, Byram, and Mason all taking the ice for them tomorrow.

Game notes:

Logan Brown left the game in the third after a scary incident involving Andreas Englund behind the Avalanche net. Brown went behind the net to get the puck, and Englund threw his hip out in to interfere in his progress. Brown went up and over, and landed face first on the ice. With his nose leaking blood, he made his own way off the ice. Mikko Rantanen also scored the 200th goal of his NHL career.

The Avalanche face off tomorrow against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers at 3:00 PM ET in Denver, Colorado. I would expect to see Georgiev get the start as the Avs look to move their season record to 31-19-5. The Avalanche are currently 3rd in the Central, and the Oilers are in the 1st Wildcard spot in the West.
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