Compher, Lindholm give fans glimpse of promising future
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It was just like old times Wednesday night at the Pepsi Center, where the Avalanche actually turned it on midway through the second period and knocked off Detroit 3-1.
Well, it was kind of like old times ... sort of like old times ... a little like old times?
Avalanche fans did get a glimpse of the future with the arrival of defenseman Anton Lindholm, 22, and another tenacious effort by center J.T. Compher, 21, who scored his first NHL goal, one that broke a 1-1 tie in the third period and turned out to be the winner.
Oh, and center Matt Duchene finally ended his hellacious slump with a second-period goal that erased the Red Wings' 1-0 lead. His first point in 12 games was his second goal in 26 games.
"That's the worst slump I've ever been in my life," said Duchene, who looked upward with eyes closed and arms raised after scoring. "It was just insane, so it was nice to pick that one up. I think you could tell by my reaction how relieved I was. I don't know if I've ever scored a goal that felt better than that one."
Center Carl Soderberg even got into the act with an insurance goal, his first goal in 18 games, that came 1:55 after Compher put a wrister over goalie Jimmy Howard's blocker.
And what did coach Jared Bednar think of his first encounter with Detroit?
"There were a lot of red jerseys in the stands, so it's kind of interesting, but I thought, third period especially when we got going, our fans were incredible," he said. "We just got to give them something to cheer about."
Calvin Pickard, who lost a 1-0 heartbreaker Monday in Arizona, made 27 saves for his 13th win.
But the night belonged to Compher and Lindholm, who look to be two key pieces to this team's future.
"It was pretty special," said Compher, who accepted Francois Beauchemin's stretch pass in the neutral zone and cut to his right before shooting from the top of the slot.
"It's nice to get that first one out of the way, but really fun to do it in a win. The guys were really excited for me, which makes me feel a little better. Overall, it was a fun night, a good two points."
The goal also was Compher's first NHL point in eight games, but he's impressed Bednar with all aspects of his game. He won six of 10 faceoffs, blocked two shots, had a takeaway and helped kill off Detroit's lone power play.
"He's a smart player, a really smart player," Bednar said. "Plays with some pace. He's kind of been all over the lineup for us, playing with some different wingers, trying to find some guys to get some chemistry with him. He is starting to create some chances and find some room there. I think he can do more of that."
Lindholm played 14:32, had three hits, was on the penalty kill and finished plus-2. He played the first period and a half with Beauchemin and finished with Fedor Tyutin.
"What I liked about him was when they put the puck behind him, he got back there and retrieved it in a hurry," Bednar said. "Got a good touch on it, made the right decisions and bumped it to our guys who were coming to support him. Simple plays in and out of the zone all night almost for him. I thought he was really good."
Lindholm said it helped to play alongside a couple of veterans.
"I thought I played a pretty decent game," he said. "They're two guys who have played a lot of games in this league. They helped me out real well, talkative, vocal on the ice. I'm thankful for playing with them.
"The first couple shifts there were a bit sketchy. You’re nervous, you don’t want to mess up, but then you get into the rhythm of it. I got to play consistently throughout the game so that helps out a lot too.”
Forward Matt Nieto was scratched because of a knee injury that apparently isn't considered serious.