Tomorrow the Colorado Avalanche will be taking on the San Jose Sharks at Pepsi Center.
The last time I watched these two teams duke it out this happened…
1-1 with 17 Minutes left in the third period. This game was one of many that absolutely ripped my heart out of my chest. An absolute implosion by the Avalanche in the third period. But, This is what we came to expect last season. Not Patrick Marleau scoring four straight goals but, blown coverages , weak goals, and Joe Colborne covering on defense.
Many things have changed since then. Patrick Marleau is now on the Toronto Maple Leafs, Our then goalie Calvin Pickard was drafted in the expansion draft to Vegas and then traded to Toronto, and the Avs have young defensemen in the pipeline.
The one year deals that were given out to some of free agents seemed like Joe Sakic was trying to salvage a sinking ship. Signings like Patrick Weircioch, Fedor Tyutin, and Rene Bourque… these signings seemed like duct tape on bullet holes. They looked like a good decision at the time but they did not pan out to be truly beneficial to the team. These guys are for the most part gone. Joe Colborne is still floating around in the AHL with the San Antonio Rampage where he has 4pts, 2 G and 2 A which is pretty good considering he only has 1 SOG according to the Rampage’s website. People forget that Joe had 4 goals all of last year, 3 of which came in the first game of the season.
This Avalanche team is different than last year, but, things have been too good as of recently. The Avalanche are riding a seven game winning streak even after their mandatory 5 day break. Nathan MacKinnon is still on fire. Hopefully he continues his hot streak through the all-star break. The Avs sit two points outside of a playoff spot with one game in hand. The Tie breaker being ROW (regulation/ Overtime wins). The Avalanche would have one more ROW than the Los Angeles Kings placing them in the second wild card spot if they win against the Sharks, granted the kings would have to lose tomorrow versus the Penguins.
The Sharks (24-13-6) are an interesting opponent, they are a team that was spear-headed by Brent Burns on the back-end and Joe Pavelski up front for the passed couple of years. The player that has been in the headlines the most though is, noted empty-net goal scorer, Joe Thornton. Jumbo Joe hasn’t really been in the headlines because of his play but because of his beard. Otherwise he has been having a good season for the style of player he is. He typically tallies a ton of assists with less than 20 goals over the entire expanse of the season. This time around its a little different in 43 games he has posted 11 goals tied for third on the team with Chris Tierney. Joe is on pace to surpass 20 goals this season if he keeps it up.
My player to watch would probably have to be Joonas Donskoi though. There has been a lot of hype over him the passed couple of years but I have not seen anything besides a few flashes in the pan. He has had 2 multi point games in his last three, and has been a plus +5 rating over that span. Look for him to make an impact tonight against the Avalanche. I wouldn’t worry too much about Brent Burns his defensive game is nothing to write home about. He is -17 this year with the worst rating on his team by 10 for defensemen.
(Skip to 2:43) Joonas is a tremendously skilled hockey player and he had a beautiful assist off of an tremendous individual effort prior to this dangle but I do not want you to see it because it does not fit my narrative so I am not including it. Transparency.
Shoutout Joakim Ryan though, another Jersey boy made it all the way to the show. I remember mopping up his Red Bank Generals Peewee AA team with my Peewee A Princeton Tigers team back when I was 11, 5-2. Not a big deal or anything. Also side-note Joakim Ryan didn’t play in that game.
5-3 Avs win Don’t @ me.