Forget the 7-3 drubbing St. Louis handed Colorado earlier in the year, Colorado had their worst game of the year, losing 8-2 against Edmonton.
The Oilers made Colorado look like a peewee team the entire game. Taylor Hall propelled the Oilers all night long. He got the scoring started just 3:44 into the period on a breakaway. Hall slipped the puck five hole, and the rout was on.
Despite the 8-2 loss, the worst part of the night for Colorado was Jan Hejda losing an edge and going hard into the boards in the first period. Hejda immediately grabbed his knee and stayed down. Hejda has been arguably the Avs best defensively, and while the extent of the injury is not known, any time Hejda misses is going to hurt the team.
Colorado kept the 1 goal deficit for most of the first period, but got into penalty trouble, leaving a dangerous Edmonton powerplay on the ice for a 5-3 powerplay. Hall netted his second of the night on a laser from the far circle. Edmonton wasn’t done. Just 15 seconds later, still on a powerplay, Ales Hemsky got a feed right in front, and was able to backhand the puck past Varlamov…and that is where I turned the game off.
Colorado made it competitive, scoring a couple of goals in the first ten minutes of the second. From there, it was all Edmonton. David Perron added a goal to give the Oilers a 4-2 lead heading into the third. The high flying Oilers netted 4 goals in the third period, including Taylor Hall scoring his third with just 12 seconds left. All eight came against goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who was 20-28 on saves for the night. Suddenly his season numbers are middle of the pack.
Colorado made the quick flight from Edmonton to Calgary and took on the Flames the next night. This game went better.
Colorado, behind Max Talbot and John Mitchell, picked up two key points, but more importantly, looked much better after the embarrassing Oilers loss. Calgary scored the first goal of the game, at which point Avs fan were calling for everyone to be traded. Kris Russell scored for the Flames on the powerplay, which also resulted in another powerplay for Calgary after goaltended JS Giguere didn’t like a lack of interference call, and shoved the net off its moorings.
The Avs really started to turn things around and control the game halfway through the second period, but didn’t get on the scoreboard until the 18:00 mark of the second, after John Mitchell found Max Talbot wide open in front, with a near empty net. Flames goalie Kari Ramo misplayed the puck behind the net, allowing Mitchell to easily steal the puck and send it in front. Talbot’s first as an Av couldn’t have come at a better time.
Less than a minute later, that duo was at it again, setting up PA Parenteau in the slot for another goal and a quick 2-1 lead. The Avs poured it on in the third, when rookie Nathan MacKinnon added his sixth of the year. MacKinnon did a great job getting the puck to Gabe Landeskog on a touch pass, circled behind the net, and was right there for the rebound off the Landeskog shot. Landeskog did a great job setting MacKinnon up for a rebound. He now leads the Avs in scoring, and is playing all around great hockey.
The Flames added a late goal, with 1:55 left to make things interesting, but Colorado did a fantastic job killing off the last 115 seconds, with most of that time spent in the Flames zone.
Colorado will follow manifest destiny and head west to finish up the road trip in Vancouver on Sunday.