The Avalanche has been up and down all season long, but as a squad, they have been ramping up the defensive intensity the last few weeks. Wednesday night at the Pepsi Center was no different. as the Avs outplayed Detroit and one rookie got on the board for the first time, 3-1.
“Good all-around game,” head coach Jared Bednar said. “There were a lot of good things that I saw — Compher getting his first goal, [Anton] Lindholm was steady and solid back there, good puck decisions.”
Forward J.T. Compher, who saw action in the eighth NHL game of his career on Wednesday, netted his first goal as a professional early into the third period to break a 1-1 tie. It was something the Red Wings couldn’t recover from.
“It felt good,” Compher said. “I came a little close in Arizona. It was a great play by my linemates getting to the net and getting me an opportunity to walk into the slot.”
Less than two minutes later, forward Carl Soderberg put the final nail in the coffin with a tally of his own. The real difference, however, lied in the Avs’ defensive stance as they dug the hole for Detroit’s grave all night.
“I thought we did a pretty good job of getting out of our zone, coming through the neutral zone with speed, sustaining O-zone time and having a shooting mentality,” defenseman Mark Barberio said. “That’s a winning formula.”
As with any defense, though, the real success lied in goalie Calvin Pickard, who’s been playing exceptionally well as of late. He braved 29 shots, only letting one slip past.
“I think he’s been playing great lately,” Barberio said. “He’s looking looking really confident in net, and that confidence is resonating through the rest of the team now.”
Moving forward, Barberio believes that the Avalanche’s success lies in the efficency of their blueline.
“I think we’ve just got to look at the positives from tonight and continue it,” Barberio said. “We’re facing the same team again, so it will be a good test, especially going into Joe Louis. That’s a tough arena to play in. We’ve just got to play the same way we did tonight.”
The Avs return to action on Saturday, March 18 as they head to Detroit to face the Red Wings once more at 11 a.m. The game will be broadcast on Altitude.
“We’re playing with a little more passion and energy, I feel like, lately,” Bednar said. “We need to find a way to skate, to get more dangerous offensively. Some nights we have it, and others we don’t.”