From what we've seen in the last few games, the Colorado Avalanche that we know and we're used to? That team is back. The Avs picked up a huge Black Friday victory over the Minnesota Wild, but it's right back to work a day later. This time, the Avalanche returned home to face off against the Calgary Flames for the first time all season. With this, the Avs have one Pacific team they have yet to face this year: the Edmonton Oilers. Colorado entered this meeting with a 6-2 record against Pacific opponents.
The goalie matchup was Ivan Prosvetov against Dan Vladar, a battle of backups because the Flames also played the second game of a back-to-back. Flames had had the first two shots, and then they ended up with the game's first power play. It became a four-on-four after Miles Wood was tripped on a shorthanded breakaway, and that resulted in a brief power play for the Avalanche. As the Avs PP was winding down, another penalty was called on the Flames. The only reason why it wasn't a 5-on-3 was because the Avs had possession of the puck for the remaining seconds of the power play, which was killed off, resulting in a full 5-on-4 for the Avs. This one was successful, and it was Jonathan Drouin netting his third of the season.
The 1-0 score held up for the rest of the period, which ended with the Flames on the power play. Avs killed the rest of it off to kick off the 2nd period. Second period was mostly uneventful, only one penalty was committed, that was the Avs, who killed off another Calgary PP. Mikko Rantanen thought he had one, but it hit the post. However, Ryan Johansen would put it in; an unassisted goal that made it 2-0. Less than two minutes later, Mikael Backlund put the Flames on the board, but 34 seconds later, Nathan MacKinnon scored his first goal in a good while to make it 3-1. The score would hold up the rest of the way; the third period saw a lot of mayhem, but no goals.
The Avalanche won 3-1 over the Flames, our sixth win in seven games. That skid we were on is now a thing of the past. The Avs are truly back. At 14-6-0, the Avalanche are in first place in the Central Division, with only five teams with higher point totals in the entire NHL. It's been a true team effort. We've won games where MacKinnon, Rantanen, and Makar haven't actually produced. We're getting goals from players such as Frederik Olofsson, Jonathan Drouin, and yes, even Kurtis MacDermid. Plus, I think that duo of Alexandar Georgiev and Ivan Prosvetov will make people forget about Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman in Boston. I'm dead serious. The rest of the league should be very afraid of the Avalanche this year. We are a quiet storm, and those storms are the scariest.
The Avalanche's 2023-24 season is pretty much one-quarter done, and the team is on pace to actually win 58 games this year, which is two more than the 2021-22 season. Speaking of that season, the Avs will remain at home on Monday to face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning--the very team we defeated that year to win the Stanley Cup.
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