With the focus on newcomer Tyson Jost making his NHL debut for the Colorado Avalanche tonight, the actual game against the visiting St. Louis Blues seemed secondary to everything else going on. For a team having one of the worst seasons in modern history, the addition of Jost, Colorado's first-round selection in the 2016 NHL Draft, was an extremely welcome sight.
Once the game actually began, things were as they usually are with the Blues and Avalanche: physical, irritatable, and low-event. The Blues got the scoring started in a tight-checking opening frame when Ryan Reaves deflected a short side shot past goaltender Calvin Pickard at 12:29, giving Jordan Schmaltz his first NHL point in his career. The Blues took their one-goal lead and a 13-5 shot advantage into the second period.
That period would end up looking very different from the first as the Avalanche eventually got down 16-7 in shots on goal before waking up and taking over the game. En route to a 15-4 edge in shots on goal through the entirety of the second, the Avalanche also converted the rare power play chance into a goal when Nathan MacKinnon took a Tyson Barrie outlet and danced through several Blues players before firing a shot on goal that was stopped by Jake Allen but the big rebound he allowed was jammed home by J.T. Compher and just like that it was a 1-1 game heading into the game's final frame.
The final period featured more of Colorado's dominance as they led in shots, 10-6, but neither team could solve the other's goaltender and the game slipped into overtime. What followed was a picture perfect advertisement of the benefit of three-on-three hockey as both teams had breakaways and high-quality scoring chances. Yet, the goaltenders held their ground and no goals were scored, pushing the game to a shootout.
While the feel-good story of Jost continued with him going as Colorado's second shooter, it was the old young guns in Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon who pushed the Avalanche over the top as each scored in the shootout and Pickard stayed tall, stopping all three shots he faced and the Avalanche emerged victorious, 2-1.
1. J.T. Compher
2. Calvin Pickard
3. Jake Allen
PLAY OF THE GAME
Compher's goal will be on highlight reels throughout the NHL tonight as MacKinnon's brilliance with the puck created the entire scoring sequence.
MacKinnon's shootout goal won the game for the Avalanche. That's as turning point as a turning point gets.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Avalanche take their woes to Minnesota to take on a struggling Wild team on Sunday afternoon.