Gabriel Landeskog fresh off of a three game suspension scored a goal and earned himself an assist in the 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night. The win put the Avs back to one point ahead of the Minnesota Wild, who beat the Chicago Blackhawks in a shootout, for the final wild card spot.
The Avalanche were without star players Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon last night, but they didn’t let it slow them down. Coach Patrick Roy had to get creative with the lines missing the two centers, but numerous players stepped up in the absence of the team’s leading scorers.
The Avalanche started the game with multiple scoring chances, putting up 12 shots on goal to Edmonton’s 8. Neither team scored despite good chances at both ends. Backup goalie Calvin Pickard, getting a start in place of Semyon Varlamov, was strong throughout the first period and the entire game. He made 26 saves versus 28 shots during the game, allowing both goals in the third period, one during a six-on-five where Edmonton had pulled their goalie.
The scoring would get started in the second period with captain Gabirel Landeskog scoring in his first game back. The goal would come after he made a strong hit on an Oiler player to shake the puck loose. Shawn Matthias then passed to Carl Soderberg who would feed the puck to an open Landeskog in the front of the net. Landeskog skated passed the front of the net and slipped the puck in against opposing goaltender Laurent Brossoit.
The second goal would come right as the Avalanche power play ended. Tyson Barrie took a slap shot two seconds after the power play and the puck pinballed in off of an Edmonton player. The goal was Barrie’s 13th of the season. Mikkel Boedker continued his production with the Avs earning an assist and Landeskog earned the other.
Going into the third period the Avs were playing a little more carefully and it came nacl to bite them as the Oilers scored only 2:53 into the period. Matt Hendricks would put the puck in the net earning his 5th of the year. Although the Avalanche would have only four shots in the period, they were able to score the goal that would put them ahead for good. On the Avs second power play of the game, Erik Johnson would take a slap shot that Black Comeau redirected perfectly into the net. Francois Beauchemin earned the other assist on the goal. The Oilers would score once more with their goalie pulled, with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scoring the goal, but they could not score again to send the game into overtime.
This game wrapped up the Canadian road trip for Colorado as they now only play teams in the playoff picture. Going 3-1 on the road trip is good for establishing some momentum going forward, but the path to the playoffs is not going to be an easy one as they are neck and neck with the Minnesota Wild. The Avalanche have one remaining game against the Wild and 9 games left in total with four coming on the road. The Avalanche get a few days to rest before playing again against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.