The Colorado Avalanche rebounded from a tough loss in Chicago on Thursday with a 1-0 win over the Minnesota Wild in front of an announced crowd of just over 16,000 at Pepsi Center on Saturday after noon.
Here are my five takeaways from the win:
1. Calvin Pickard picked up his second career shutout with a fantastic 32 save performance in just his third start this season. He has given up just five goals on 89 shots in those three games against the Penguins, Coyotes and Wild. His performance will only make those fans clamoring for him to be the number one goalie a little bit louder. It’s hard to argue with them. He has played well over the last two seasons, and while Semyon Varlamov has had his moments this season, he has struggled more than not. After the game, head coach Jared Bednar said that the team will continue to keep their current week to week goaltending schedule and that Varlamov will start on Sunday in St. Louis.
2. The Avalanche continue to struggle being able to find the net offensively despite a barrage of shots on goal against opponents netminders. Gabriel Landeskog broke a drought of over seven periods without a goal, going back to the 5:35 mark of the first period on Tuesday against Nashville. They have 99 shots on goal over the last three games but just two goals to show for it. They have played against some red hot goaltenders in Corey Crawford and Devan Dubynk the last few games so i wouldnt expect it to last. This team will get it going offensively.
3. The turning point in the game definitely came early in the third period when Dubynk and Landsekog got into it after the Wild goaltender slashed the Avalanche captain a couple of times in front of the Minnesota net. That woke up a Pepsi Center crowd that had been relatively quiet most of the day and turned the momentum in Colorado’s favor capped off by Landeskog’s power play goal minutes later.
4. Mikko Rantanen had played really well in his four games since being called up on October 28th against the Jets, but had somehow been held without a point until Saturday. The winger registered his first NHL point with and assist on the Landeskog power play goal. He played on the top line with Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene and led the Avalanche with a Corsi percentage of 68.57%. He was on the ice for 24 Avalanche shot attempts and only 11 against. I would love to see this line stick together for a while.
5. The penalty kill continues to be really good for the Avalanche with a 3-for-3 performance on Saturday. They have now killed 19-of-20 and 25-of-27 recently. They came into the game 22nd in the league on the disadvantage but should move up after another strong performance.