Finishing off a three-game road trip, the Colorado Avalanche came into Saturday evening’s contest against the Winnipeg Jets as the rested team as the Jets played last night. That seemed to matter little for the lethargic Avalanche as they completely failed to show up in the first period.
Things got rolling quickly for the Jets when rookie forward Patrik Laine found himself with quite a bit of open space and he fired a blistering shot past goaltender Calvin Pickard, whose nightmare in his hometown was only just beginning. Laine’s goal put the Jets up 1-0 just 4:22 into the game and was only serving as a launching off point for another painful beatdown for Colorado.
There were five relatively fun minutes where nothing terrible happened to Colorado but Winnipeg thoroughly dominated play and Blake Wheeler found some space on the power play and whipped a wrist shot past Pickard to move the Jets ahead 2-0.
15 whole seconds passed before the Jets struck again when Winnipeg’s top line made a gorgeous tic-tac-toe passing play from Nikolaj Ehlers to Laine to Mark Scheifele and the Jets took a 3-0 lead as Pickard stood absolutely no chance.
Showing mercy, the Jets let up the rest of the period and took their three-goal lead into the first intermission along with a staggering 14-3 lead in shots. Things quickly picked up in the second period where they had left off as Colorado wasted multiple power play opportunities and then dared not to play transition defense, which led to Winnipeg defenseman Ben Chiarot scoring his first goal of the season and moving the Jets up by four goals.
Two more minutes passed and Colorado’s lack of interest in playing defense burned them again when another slick passing play by the Jets left Pickard completely hung out to dry and Ehlers got Winnipeg’s fifth goal of the game, signaling an end to Pickard’s misery as Jeremy Smith came in to stop the bleeding. He succeeded as the Avalanche finally started attempting to actually play hockey after getting down 5-0 after two periods.
The Avalanche came out and were apparently the only ones who didn’t realize the third period was meant to be a running clock as they actually started taking shots and playing some semblance of hockey. Of course, it didn’t lead to anything and a lazy line change allowed Jacob Trouba to walk into the zone with two Avs defenders in front of him and he fired a slap shot off the back wall. Instead of trying to do something with the puck, Mark Barberio chose to lazily hack at Trouba as he followed the puck and slipped it past a confused Smith, who mistakenly looked to his right when the puck rebounded off the back wall to his left and it moved to 6-0.
Cody Goloubef’s slap shot from the point with about 16 seconds remaining was tipped in by Gabriel Landeskog, ending Connor Hellebuyck’s bid for back-to-back shutouts.
1. Blake Wheeler
2. Nikolaj Ehlers
3. Patrik Laine
PLAY OF THE GAME
Scheifele’s goal came from great passing all around, starting with Ehlers at center ice and ending with Laine drawing both the defense and Pickard into believing he was going to shoot before finding Scheifele for the open net. A wonderful display of the skill Winnipeg has spent years assembling.
The game’s first goal signaled a day marked by zero Avalanche defense and Calvin Pickard getting hung out to dry by his apathetic teammates.
BY THE NUMBERS
Colorado has a quick turnaround as they head home tomorrow to take on the St. Louis Blues.