It took 23 games, but the Colorado Avalanche seem to have finally gotten out of their slump and back to their winning ways. After a 4-14-5 stretch, the Avalanche have managed to string together a three-game winning streak. This is the first time the team has won consecutive contests since their six-game winning streak which ended all the way back on November, 30 according to NHL.com.
This week, the Avalanche have faced formidable opponents, and have come out on top in convincing fashion. On Monday night, they took down the Las Vegas Golden Knights by a decisive score of 3-0. On Wednesday evening, the team blew out the Central Division leading Winnipeg Jets 7-1. Their most recent victory came against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night as the Avalanche managed to edge out their divisional rival 5-3 in the Windy City. This was the Avalanche’s first win against the Blackhawks this season as they lost their first two meetings at home by scores of 2-1 and 3-2 in overtime.
The game began with a goal from forward Carl Soderberg with a little less than four minutes left in the first period to put the Avalanche up 1-0. While on a miniature breakaway, the Swedish native shot the puck five-hole on Blackhawks goaltender Collin Delia. The tally marked a milestone for the 33-year-old. For the first time in Soderberg’s NHL career, he has hit the 20-goal plateau according to NHL.com.
However, the home team would respond in the second stanza. Forward Dylan Strome buried the puck past Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov after a shot by defenseman Erik Gustafsson ricocheted off of the back boards and landed right on the 21-year-old’s stick. The tally came on the power play a little past the halfway mark in the second.
The Avalanche would answer with a power play goal of their own. Left-winger and Illinois native J.T. Compher fired a wrist shot past Delia from inside the right faceoff circle to put the Avalanche back on top 2-1. The tally came with a little under two minutes left in the frame and completed a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play which began with forwards Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen.
The Blackhawks would make sure to go into the second intermission tied though. Captain Jonathan Toews made a cross ice pass to a wide open Patrick Kane who deposited the puck into a yawning cage with just 29 seconds left in the frame. The tally extends the 30-year-old’s point streak to a whopping 20 games according to NHL.com.
A little more than three and half minutes into the final stanza, the Avalanche would regain the lead for the third time of the contest. Landeskog fended off a persistent Toews and then unloaded a laser of a wrist shot top shelf over the left shoulder of Delia to put the score at 3-2.
However, the Blackhawks would not go away. Left-winger Alex DeBrincat scored the second power play goal of the game for the Blackhawks at exactly 10 minutes into third. Varlamov was able to stop the first two shots in the sequence, but the 21-year-old managed to pop home the rebound on the third opportunity.
With the clock winding down in the game, Compher emerged as the hero for the Avalanche. The 23-year-old notched his second goal of the contest with a breakaway tally that silenced nearly every Blackhawks fan in attendance at the United Center. The goal was a bit unfortunate for the Blackhawks as the original shot by Compher hit the crossbar, bounced off of the back of Delia’s skate and into the net. The tally came with a little less than five and a half minutes left in the game to put the Avalanche up 4-3.
Soderberg would also score his second goal of the contest with an empty netter in the final 34 seconds of the third period.
The victory improves the Avalanche’s record to 26-24-11 and increases their point total to 63. Although the Avalanche had shortly bounced back into a playoff spot after their win against the Jets. They currently sit one point out of the final wild card spot due to the Minnesota Wild winning games on back to back nights and increasing their point total to 64.
The Avalanche’s next game will be on the road against the Nashville Predators on Saturday afternoon. The Avalanche are 1-2 against the Predators this season but have won the last two meetings in Nashville. One of the victories was on November, 27 and the other occurred back in April during game five of the Western Conference quarter finals.