Who says that all wins have to be pretty?
Following a couple of ugly back-and-forth periods, where it looked like neither team was able to gain an edge, the Colorado Avalanche erupted in the third period with two quick goals and an empty net goal to come away with the 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center.
For a team that seems to constantly be examined for its offensive depth, the Avalanche were able to come away with the victory in part to a large two-goal performance from veteran forward Carl Soderberg.
With time winding down in the first period, The Avs were able to record the first goal of the game as forward Mikko Rantanen found the back of the net to extend his point streak to ten straight games. The Florida Panthers came up with a late period goal of their own as forward Colton Sceviour tallied a goal of his own.
The second period was all about special teams, as the Avalanche regained the lead with Soderberg recording his second goal of the game by storming down the ice to notch the shorthanded go-ahead goal at the 5:44 mark of the second period. However, the Panthers quickly came up with the equalizing tally as veteran defenseman Keith Yandle tallied a power-play marker. With no other goals happening in the second period, the two teams headed into the final frame with two goals per-piece.
“The first two periods we didn’t feel like we played at the level that we know we can” Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said.
“In the third [period] we just decided to put pucks in deep and that is what we know is the recipe for success and let our speed and forecheck do the work. We were able to come up with some secondary pucks and come up with a really nice tip there [Compher’s goal]”.
The Avalanche continued to prove that they are a third period team this season, notching three answered goals from forwards J.T. Compher, Soderberg, and Gabriel Landeskog tallying the empty net goal to come away with the 5-2 victory over the Panthers to help the Avs get back into the winning column, and ensure at least a .500 record on this four-game road swing.
“I think what it comes down to is just good teams knowing how to respond, good teams know how to bounce back, and good teams know how to not lose consecutive games,” defenseman Ian Cole said.
“It was a close game after two periods and we were able to step up in the third and get some huge goals and continue to push the pace.”
With the victory, Avs goaltender Philipp Grubauer holds a record of 7-0-2 in his last nine games played. Grubauer made 25 saves against the Panthers to ensure the 5-2 victory for the Avalanche tonight.
“Gru [Grubauer] was fantastic. Some of the saves that he made were unreal and it takes a really special goalie and athletic goalie to make those saves. He has been fantastic, and so has Varly, and we are very lucky to have two great goaltenders. We are certainly going to rely and lean on them as the season goes” Cole said.
Now tied with the Nashville Predators for first place in the Western Conference and the Central Division, the Avalanche will be in for a big test as they take on the Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, December 8 with puck drop scheduled for 5 p.m. MT.