Colorado’s 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks put the Avalanche on a four-game winning streak as they head into a tough matchup tomorrow night at the Seattle Kraken.

Studs

Nathan MacKinnon/Mikko Rantanen

They combined for one goal, three assists, 14 shots on goal (Colorado had 29), and a bunch of highlights. MacKinnon was more in the zone of the two, but they were fantastic together and apart, which left Vancouver with little opportunity whenever they hopped over the boards.

Colorado’s superstar forwards dominated and won this game for the Avalanche. Easily.

Alexandar Georgiev

28 saves on 29 shots and was good from start to finish. There was never really a big lull in opportunities as the Canucks did a decent job of getting meaningful pressure throughout the game. Georgiev stayed in rhythm and really did a nice job of shutting down the Canucks’ powerful scoring group.

Logan O’Connor

LOC can’t seem to break the goal-scoring slump that dates back to Colorado’s first game after their Finland trip, but his play remains steady and reliable as ever.

His speed causes problems for opposing teams and his forecheck pressure led to another goal, even though he didn’t get credited for an assist on Colorado’s first goal. What is it to be an effective role player in the NHL? Watch LOC win footraces and board battles all game long.

LOC’s work along the boards on the first goal is accompanied by great work from linemate Alex Newhook. It’s LOC that helps start the play in the defensive zone, then the reload in the offensive zone as they prevented Vancouver from getting the puck out cleanly.

Most of that reel is pretty straightforward, but the last clip I especially loved. Under four minutes to play in the third period of a 4-1 game and O’Connor is still attacking Vancouver’s puck carriers, still hounding them and preventing an easy zone exit. He dogs the opposition until the game ends, and that impact he has is absolutely felt on the other side.

Timeouts!

I’ve long expressed frustration with Jared Bednar’s timeout usage (the most nitpick of all nitpicks, I admit) as I think he takes them with him too frequently. Tonight, however, Bednar saw his tired PP1 unit get a good break when Vancouver took a too-many-men penalty to give the Avs their second 5-on-3 of the night.

Bednar didn’t hesitate to call his timeout, then followed up with a five-man unit that scored to make the game 3-0 and essentially take the Canucks’ hearts out of it. Great work by all.

Bruce chants

The Canucks are currently putting head coach Bruce Boudreau through some rarely-seen public form of torture as they have reportedly already agreed to hire former Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet to be their new bench boss, but are leaving Boudreau to twist in the wind. Why?

Rumor has it there was an agreement in Tocchet’s TNT contract that kept him from jumping ship immediately and the team might just be waiting that out. As we wait, however, Boudreau remains the ultimate lame-duck coach, but that didn’t stop the Canucks from showering him with the “Bruce there it is!” chants that were so much fun last season.

I’m not sure why the Canucks are doing this to their own coach, but I appreciated the fans still giving him love while they can.

Special teams

Colorado killed all four penalties while scoring on both 5-on-3 chances given to them. They should have had three power-play goals but MacKinnon missed the wide-open net that would have made it 3-0 early in the second period.

That’s a great result from a team that has seemed to struggle to gain traction on either of these units. The power play has been much better during this winning streak, however.

This camera angle

Simple, but I loved this view of Brad Hunt’s goal that made it 4-1. You can clearly see the work done along the wall by Mikko Rantanen, but mainly you get a wonderful high-speed look at the shot itself and why it was so hard to stop.

Duds

J.T. Compher/Valeri Nichushkin/Kurtis MacDermid

This is specifically this trio together, not necessarily their entire games. This group, though, was an absolute nightmare on the ice together. We have frequently marveled at Nichushkin’s ability to produce sparkling underlying numbers in any situation, but this was the rare night when he got obliterated.

This group on the ice produced zero shot attempts, gave up nine, and allowed six scoring chances, five of which were high-danger chances while producing zero on offense. That’s a trainwreck. They didn’t pay the price, but holy smokes that’s bad.

Andrew Cogliano penalties

I don’t think Cogs played poorly overall, but the three penalties are the type of thing you expect to see from a younger guy, not the elder statesman of the team. His goal was great, which is why he escapes being on this list for his whole game, but the penalties just cannot continue.

He had three tonight, one last game, and got away with a Delay of Game that Brad Hunt took the fall for in the Los Angeles game that helped spark the Kings’ third-period comeback that night. Simply put, these are not the mistakes you expect of a veteran leader.

In total, he has seven minors in his last 11 games (three tonight greatly skews that number, but the consistency is problematic). He also had that misconduct penalty the last time Colorado was in Vancouver.

Unsung Hero

Sam Girard

This is why I hate plus/minus. Absolutely hate it. Girard is the only Av to finish -1 tonight. He broke even in all meaningful shot-share metrics but won his head-to-head matchup against the Miller-Horvat-Garland line, which was his primary job tonight. The goal he’s on the ice for, well, let’s watch it.

The Avs lose the faceoff, then Logan O’Connor and J.T. Compher lose a 2v1 high in the defensive zone. Both Erik Johnson and Girard clearly thought that puck was on its way out of the zone based on how they both start drifting forward.

Johnson then swats at it when it comes to him and actually hits it. It clangs off Brock Boeser’s skate, who kicks it forward. Enter Girard, who now has to decide to reach for the loose puck or try to step back. The puck is easily within his reach so he goes for it. It ends up between his legs and on the stick of Elias Pettersson, who dangles Georgiev and scores Vancouver’s only goal of the night.

If you’re going to crush Girard for that, that’s entirely your right. I’m certainly not going to because I really liked a lot of what Girard did tonight. There were very good moments on both offense and defense to appreciate.

In the offensive clips, you see Girard activating and jumping into empty ice or making a great pass that creates a scoring chance. It was the kind of offensive creation he has severely lacked for too much of this season.

Defensively, you see him engage consistently with a very disruptive stick. He jumps passing lanes and is involved in getting several pucks moved out of harm’s way. His stick check in the final clip might be a reach on my part as the puck was already sliding away from Horvat, but Girard’s stick getting there when it did ensured there would be no attempt made from that point forward.

Overall, it was a game I really liked from Girard. If you’re going to look at the goal against and blame him squarely, I’d say that’s ridiculous given three teammates failed before Girard even got involved. If you wanted to argue Girard also misplayed that puck, I certainly wouldn’t argue.

Author

A.J. Haefele was born in Aurora, Colorado, raised in Katy, Texas and is the Colorado Avalanche beat reporter for DNVR. AJ helped launch the network back in 2015 and has filled roles as a team leader and Editor-In- Chief, along with co-hosting the DNVR draft podcasts along with his other duties. You can hear him every weekday on the DNVR Avalanche podcast. Follow AJ on Twitter - @returnofaj

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