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After another disappointing home stand the Avalanche headed to frigid Winnipeg in hopes of heating up as a team. In what’s become typical fashion for games between the Jets and Avalanche, the two teams played a slow and grinding first period with few offensive opportunities and no scoring. Despite a slow start, the Jets did start to generate some significant offense at the end of the first period, but Calvin Pickard stopped all 12 shots he faced.
Early in the first period Cody McLeod and Chris Thorburn dropped the gloves for their regular bout. The two had a spirited and technical fight in a personal rivalry that’s seen the two drop the gloves 7 times now.
The Avalanche opened the 2nd period with much better offensive push as the MacKinnon, Landeskog, and Rantanen line created a handful of scoring chances, but none could beat Hellebuyck.
The Jets would score the first goal of the game midway through the first period when a Fedor Tyutin pinch led to a 2-on-1 for the Jets’ leading scorers. Tyson Barrie got caught in no man’s land and Mark Schiefele was able to set up rookie phenom Patrik Laine with a pass on a silver platter. After being denied in his first two meetings with the Avalanche, the Finnish Calder favorite hammered a perfect one timer past a helpless Calvin Pickard.
Already missing their number one goalie in Semyon Varlamov the Avalanche had a scary moment near the end of the second period when Calvin Pickard made a save at the post and labored to stand back up. After a brief meeting with the Avs’ trainer, Pickard would remain in the game.
In the third period the Avalanche followed the script they wrote at home against Philadelphia and Florida, and for the third time in a week, squandered a close game in the third period by surrendering two early goals.
On the first, the Avs failed to track the Jets through the neutral zone on an odd man rush that ended with Blake Wheeler tapping the puck past Pickard on the backdoor. On the second a failed clear from Mikhail Grigorenko led to a quick play down the left wing for Nikolaj Ehlers, who escaped Tyson Barrie and out-waited Calvin Pickard for a snipe into the back of the net.
After tripling their lead in the first 5:00 of the third period, the Jets happily sat back in a stout defensive posture and ground the game down into a neutral zone slog with little opportunity for either side.
The Avalanche managed 12 shots on goal, but none really tested Hellebuyck, until the Avalanche earned a late power play and Jarome Iginla ended the shutout bid with a bomb from the point. The Jets buried an empty netter in the final 30 seconds to send the Avalanche spiraling to their 3rd straight loss and 8th regulation loss in 10 games.
1. Nikolaj Ehlers – 2 goals
2. Patrik Laine – 1 goal, 2 assists
3. Connor Hellebuyck – 27 saves, .964 SV%
PLAY OF THE GAME/TURNING POINT
An easy selection in a tight affair, Patrik Laine’s world class one-timer was the play of the game and sucked the wind out of the Avs’ sails after a good start to the second period. The Finnish phenom now has 18 goals in this young season.
BY THE NUMBERS
Colorado heads to Minnesota to finish their brief road trip with a 6:00 MST match against the Wild.