Colorado Avalanche came into Opening Night the odds-on favorite to win it all. After burying the Blackhawks 4-1, they looked every bit of it.
Almost every Colorado Avalanche I mentioned in my season preview made an impact on opening night. Jack Johnson had the first goal of the season and as an Avalanche after signing a one-year contract just days ago at the 4:26 mark in the first. The Captian Gabriel Landeskog followed shortly after with his first of the year at the 5:48 mark in the first. And Bo Byram capped the scoring in the first at the 9:34 mark for his first goal ever.Embed from Getty Images
The Blackhawks were able to notch their first goal of the game on a power-play goal by Dominik Kubalik at the 16:47 mark in the first period. Outside of this and a late goal by Connor Murphy, Darcy Kuemper did his best to make everyone forget about Gru. Darcy stoned 32 of 34 shots on goal. If Darcy plays like this throughout the season, the biggest question facing the Avalanche during the pre-season becomes a distant memory.
You also had Nazem Kadri add the final Avalanche goal to go with his assist on the Landy goal at the 16:12 mark in the 3rd. Bo Byram notched an assist on the Kadri goal as well. But it wasn’t all finesse, as the Colorado Avalanche showed a new attitude and physicality I mentioned so much in the above season preview. They outhit the Blackhawks 25-17, lead by Jack Johnson’s 4. But it wasn’t all the new guys making noise, The Captian took 3 penalties including 2 on a single play at the 16:26 mark in the 4th on a bad hit in relation to Kirby Dach being chippy most of the game. J.T. Compher took two others, with Logan O’Connor taking the only other Avalanche Penalty.Embed from Getty Images
It wasn’t a perfect game though, as much as you would like to overlook the bad after such a good performance. There were a couple of concerning factors at play, like going 0-4 on Power Plays continuing a concerning trend from last year. While they gave up a Power Play goal to the Blackhawks. They were also beat at the face-off with Chicago winning 31 to Colorado’s 24. These are fixable with good coaching. Thankfully the Colorado Avalanche has great coaching.
Let us not forget all of this was done without the Avalanche’s best player, Nathan MacKinnon. Mack was sidelined due to a positive COVID-19 test just two days before the opener. They were also without 2nd-liner Devon Toews. If this is how physical and fast they can play without those two. NHL teams need to be worried about what happens when this team is fully healthy.Embed from Getty Images
Saturday October 16, 2021 vs St. Louis Blues
Where to watch:
Home: FM 92.5/AM 950
Away: 101 ESPN
Home: Altitude TV
Away: FOX Sports Midwest