The Colorado Avalanche started one of the longest road trips of the season the right way Tuesday night, getting a big shutout win over the Winnipeg Jets 4-0.
It felt like a full team win, as Pavel Francouz got ran into in the first minute of the game by a crashing Jets player. Francouz was able to skate to the locker room on his own power but did not return to action. Thus, Adam Werner was asked to mind the Colorado goal for the remainder of the game. The Avalanche did an excellent job right away, keeping the shots he saw to the outside and clearing away rebounds. Once Werner got settled, it was pretty evident that only the perfect shot would beat him.
Cale Makar got the scoring started for the Avalanche in the first period. He received an incredible cross-ice pass from Nathan MacKinnon and walked into the slot, beating Connor Hellebuyck just under the glove.
MacKinnon added two more goals in the third period before Joonas Donskoi found a rebound on the power play to virtually shut the door on any chances Winnipeg had at making a comeback.
Here are the takeaways from tonights Avalanche victory:
Avalanche have depth at goalie, Werner stands strong.
After Francouz went down in the first minute of the opening period, the Avalanche were forced to call upon Werner. Werner, who has spent this season with the Colorado Eagles was called up when Philipp Grubauer went on the IR. The 22-year-old stood on his head for the Avalanche, stopping all 40 shots he faced, including a few flashy glove-saves on Patrick Laine. No Avalanche goalie has ever gotten a shutout on his first career start before tonight. One of the most significant question-marks heading into this season was the goaltending. Can Grubauer step up? What kind of depth does Colorado have at the position? Well, if tonight showed us one thing, its that goaltending isn’t a question anymore.
Makar doesn’t play like a rookie
Makar continues to make his early case for the Calder trophy. In the blueliners 19:54, he tailed a goal, was +2, and had two takeaways. While the Avalanche have had some injury issues, Makar is one of the players they needed to step up and step up he has. Not only is he helping on the offensive side of the ice, but he is holding his own and controlling play in the defensive zone. Makar added another point tonight to continue his rampage of 18 points in 18 games.
MacKinnon, Calvert, Donskoi line continues to tear teams apart.
When two-thirds of the “MGM line” went out with injuries, the biggest question was, who was MacKinnon going to skate with? After trying a few combinations, Coach Bednar has landed on a top-line comprised of MacKinnon, Matt Calvert, and Donskoi. While they aren’t the full top line we know and love, they sure have been filling the scoring void just fine. The line combined for nine points tonight with MacKinnon getting his second four-point night of the season. One of the reasons this line works so well is because Donskoi and Calvert use their veteran hockey IQ. When playing with MacKinnon, They adjust their game to reflect what works with MacKinnon, and tonight was just one of many examples as to why they work so well together.
The Colorado Avalanche continue their northern road trip against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM MST from Rogers Place.