As the Colorado Avalanche prepare to take on the Boston Bruins for the second time in as many games, the buzz inside the locker room was palpable as the team looked forward to its home opener after winning two of three on the road to begin the season.
Defenseman Tyson Barrie scored the game-winning goal against the New York Rangers in the season-opening victory at Madison Square Garden and has arguably been Colorado’s top defenseman through the first three games. When asked about what the home opener means to him and his team, Barrie lit up with excitement.
“This is awesome,” Barrie said. “It was obviously a big road trip for us to start 2-1. We got some momentum from that. It all starts at home tonight. These fans didn’t get a whole lot out of us last year so we’re looking to show them what we can do this year. We have a different team. It’s going to be a fun night.”
The new-look Avalanche have gotten off to the kind of start through three games few expected as they’ve given up just six goals, none at even strength, and are getting after teams with a balanced offensive attack.
“It’s awesome,” Barrie said of the feel around this year’s club. “There’s a lot of youth, a lot of enthusiasm in here. It’s a completely different feel than last year which is refreshing. We’re all excited to see what we can do.”
With two points (1 g, 1 a) through the first three games, Barrie is one of nine Avalanche players with multiple points thus far and leads the team in shots on goal with 12. It’s been a strong start for the shifty blueliner as he’s averaging 23:46 of ice time per game, good for second on the Avalanche behind only Erik Johnson.
“I feel really good like I’m skating well, trying to get into the play. I feel really comfortable right now. We’re 2-1 and the team is playing well and we’re all playing well.”
One of the things Barrie has been most excited with thus far has been the defensive overhaul, specifically young lefty Chris Bigras, who made the team out of camp and thus far has rewarded the coaching staff’s faith in him.
“[Bigras] has been great. He’s moving his feet, making playing, and doing a great job.”
News and Notes
- The Avalanche lineup remains largely intact from Monday’s matinee against the Bruins. The only change is Anton Lindholm will be scratched for Mark Barberio, who will make his second appearance of the season and will be paired with Chris Bigras to begin the game.
- Head coach Jared Bednar had no update on the status of A.J. Greer, who suffered a concussion during the preseason and remains sidelined
- Bednar also expressed fondness for the evolving leadership group in the Avalanche locker room, saying “I think it’s something our core is embracing. I think they’re enjoying it. I think they’ve got a bunch of real character kids following them now.”
- When it does eventually happen, Colorado will be the last team in the NHL to surrender a goal at even strength. The Pittsburgh Penguins lead the league in ES goals given up with 14 through just three games.