The Avs pulled out a close win in a shootout Friday night against the Calgary Flames. The game went into overtime in a 3-3 tie and no team could score a goal in the three-on-three five minute overtime. Semyon Varlamov was solid in the shootout stopping all three shots he faced and Mikkel Boedker continued to make himself a valuable asset to the Avs as he scored the only goal of the shootout to win it.
Matt Stajan for the Flames started the scoring off about halfway through the first period. Erik Johnson for the Avalanche scored his 11th of the season, one below his season high that he set last year, to tie the game up at ones. Mikkel Boedker and Nathan MacKinnon assisted on the goal.
The second period was a forgettable one for the Avalanche as they allowed two shorthanded goals on the same power play. Two sloppy plays led to the scoring chances with Mark Giordano scoring his 19th of the season for the first shorthanded goal. :30 seconds later, ex-Av Freddie Hamilton scored his first goal of the season and first goal as a flame. For Hamilton, it was the second goal of his career, the first coming with the Avalanche. The shorthanded goals for the Flames were a continuation of a recent trend for Calgary who has scored five shorthanded goals in four games. In that same span they have allowed only two power play goals.
The Avalanche would not be held down by the two shorthanded goals as Tyson Barrie scored 8:33 into the second period. It was Barrie’s 12th of the season and Mikhail Grigorenko and Jerome Iginla assisted on the goal.
Trailing 3-2 going into the third period, you could just feel the energy coming from the Avalanche as they outshot Calgary 12-11 in the third. The goal to tie the game was not a pretty one, but it was well deserved for Carl Soderberg. After two shot attempts from Shawn Matthias who could not force the puck into the net, Soderberg corralled it and shot it in for his 12th goal of the year. Matthias and Chris Bigras would earn assists on the goal.
Going into overtime, the Avalanche seemed primarily focused on not allowing a goal over trying to score their own. Even with possession of the puck, they didn’t push the play and were more than content to allow their star goaltender to show his prowess in the shootout. That is exactly what Varlamov did as he stopped all three shots from the Flames players. The first attempt got away from Joe Colborne allowing Varly an easy save, but he was strong on the next two. Erik Johnson took the first attempt for the Avalanche an made a good move but ultimately shot the goal high. Boedker would then come into to be the hero as he got goalie Joni Ortio to bite on his fake attempt and put the backhand away for the game winner.
The win for the Avalanche was huge and it put them three points ahead of the Wild for the final wild card spot. The Avalanche were missing both Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landekog. Duchene is listed as out for 7-10 days and Landeskog will come back in the next game. Nathan MacKinnon, who hurt his knee during the game, is out for at least a few games and will be reevaluated. Eric Gelinas also hurt his elbow during the game and is out indefinitely. What this means for the Avs is an exciting call-up of Mikko Rantanen. The prospect is going to get some quality playing time for at least the next couple of games until either Duchene or MacKinnon can return.
Winning all three games of Landeskog’s suspension was huge as some non-star players stepped up. That trend will have to continue if the Avs want to hold onto their playoff spot over Minnesota. Next up for the Avalanche is a game in Edmonton against the Oilers. The game wraps up the Canadian road trip for the Avs who have gone 2-1 on the trip.