The Colorado Avalanche took their frustration out on the Nashville Predators in the form of a 9-4 drubbing at the Pepsi Center on Thursday evening.
After playing one of the best first periods in the last couple weeks since the injury bug hit the Avalanche, Colorado led 2-1 but had taken 18 shots and was in all-out attack mode. The opening goal was scored by Calder Memorial trophy hopeful Cale Makar, who also went on to record two more assists before the game was over. Nathan MacKinnon would also score a power-play goal before the end of the period.
The second period is where things went absolutely insane. After Filip Forsberg and ex-Avalanche player Matt Duchenne scored a pair of goals to take a 3-2 lead five minutes into the period, the Avalanche rattled off six unanswered goals in the next 8:34 of game time. The six goals were a franchise record for most goals in a period, and the Avalanche statistics guys were frantically researching if it was the fastest any six goals had ever been scored by the Avs … or anyone in the NHL, for that matter.
The period was one of the most amazing things ever seen with two goals by Joonas Donskoi, a goal apiece from Ryan Graves and Andre Burakovsky, a short-hander by Matt Nieto, and a Matt Calvert goal, as well.
For nearly eight minutes of hockey, the Avalanche could do nothing wrong. They were flying around the ice, skating flawlessly, and everything they put on net was seemingly beating the keeper. The defense was also playing exceptional hockey.
Heading into this game, Pekka Rinne was one of the hottest goaltenders in the NHL. The Avalanche scored five goals on 22 shots and Rinne was replaced by Juuse Saros.
With the major injuries to captain Gabriel Landeskog and fellow top-liner Mikko Rantanen, the Avalanche have been searching desperately for production from someone. This explosion of scoring came at the exact right time as the Avalanche were in the midst of a five-game losing streak, having scored just seven goals in the last five games.
After going 8-1-1 in the first 10 games, losing five straight was not expected, but injuries to some of the teams’ best players will have a major impact without a doubt. Last night’s game was also on the heels of news that starting goaltender Philipp Grubauer would be day-to-day with the same ailment as the other two high profile skaters: a “lower body injury.”
Star first-liner Nathan MacKinnon and star defenseman Nikita Zadorov would both leave the game and have injury designations of day-to-day with upper body injuries. As injuries continue to mount, the team will face adversity and need to keep clawing through until healthy again.
The Avalanche have a chance to carry momentum from the win into their home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. After the Columbus game, the Avs go on another grueling five-game road trip where hopefully some of the injured folks can return to the ice and they can start a winning streak.