After an embarrassing 6-2 loss in Denver on Wednesday, the Colorado Avalanche shut down the Anaheim Ducks, securing a 3-0 win. Much of the praise should go to goaltender Reto Berra as he posted a 35-save shut out, often making highlight reel moves to keep the Ducks off the board. He was seeing the puck well, even through high traffic, and staying strong on his posts, stopping a dozen good scoring chances.
The score does not quite tell the story of the game, however, as Anaheim put over 80 shots toward Colorado's net with the Avs blocking even more shots than Berra stopped. Much of that was due to the number of penalties the Avs took, five of which ended up giving the Ducks a man advantage. Colorado's penalty kill was exemplary, yet the penalties themselves were unnecessary and, at times, questionable. For example, Alex Tanguay took two tripping penalties and one hooking penalty, all the result of lazy play, and a third period boarding call on Erik Johnson could see some further discipline by the league. Fortunately, the recipient of the hit, Corey Perry, appeared fine, albeit shaken up.
Less than a minute into the first period, Nathan MacKinnon got his second goal of the season, quickly putting the team on top off a feed from Tanguay. At the 7:11 mark in the second period, Jack Skille put on a puck-protection clinic as he circled the offensive zone with the puck, eventually setting up a play that saw Holden feed Skille the one-timer that beat Ducks goaltender Frederik Anderson to give the Avs a 2-0 lead. Mikhail Grigorenko was credited with a secondary assist, giving him his first point as a member of the Avalanche. The Ducks's best chance came off the stick of Ryan Getzlaf with just under five minutes left in the final frame, but the puck pinged off the post, steering wide of a rebound opportunity. John Mitchell sealed the Avalanche win with an empty net goal, his fourth goal in as many games.
Reto Berra (COL) - 35 saves, 0 goals against
Nathan MacKinnon (COL) - 1 goal, 3 shots on goal, 1 hit
Reto Berra had numerous saves that could take this honor, so it's really just a matter of picking one. His first big save, though, set the tone for the entire game. After stopping a slap shot from the point which found its way through a throng of bodies, he found the rebound and stopped a point blank shot by Anaheim's Carl Hagelin.
The Avalanche completely took the crowd out of the game after killing off a late second-period penalty with seeming ease, changing the atmosphere of the arena and the game. Throughout the two-minute man advantage, the Ducks struggled to enter the zone, and when able to do so, could not cleanly set up the power play. As the teams left the ice for second intermission, the frustration of the home team was palpable and overshadowed only by the confidence of the visitors.
BY THE NUMBERS
QUOTE OF THE GAME
"We gave up six goals at home. That was a little bit embarrassing so we wanted to make a big statement when we came here. Have a good 60 minutes, which we did. The guys worked hard and we got some good penalty kill. They had some chances and our goalie made the big saves." - Francois Beauchemin
Unlike Wednesday night's dismal performance against another desperate team yet to see a win, the Avalanche made a statement with this shutout. Unfortunately, it comes on the back of a great goaltending performance—reminiscent of the way Semyon Varlamov carried the team so often the past few years—a trend that has proven ineffective in the long run. Should the Avalanche want to keep winning, the team will have to find a way to reduce the shots against while maintaining the scoring, which seems to be coming much more easily this season.
The Avalanche head up the freeway to take on the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, October 18.