At today’s opening game of the 2015 IIHF World Championship, there was a Canadian Avalanche in Prague. The Colorado Avalanche have four players representing Canada, Tyson Barrie, Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon, and Ryan O’Reilly. All four made strong showings in their opening game against Latvia. All played parts on Canada’s special teams, and all of them ended up with at least a point and a solid first game under their belts for team Canada in Prague.
All four #Avs have points in Canada’s opening game: Barrie: 1 assist Duchene: 1 goal MacKinnon: 1 goal, 2 assists O’Reilly: 1 assist
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) May 1, 2015
Tyson Barrie was great out there on the big ice as many anticipated. He was given big minutes and handled them very well. Along with Brent Burns, Tyson Barrie is Canada’s most lethal weapon on the blue line offensively speaking. He didn’t do anything too fancy which he is very capable of, just a very solid showing all around. I have said in the past that I believe he will become one of the NHL’s best offensive defenseman, if he isn’t already.
Matt Duchene centered Canada’s 3rd line(if you want to call it that) with Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall on his wings. This will no doubt be Canada’s speed line and has a boat load of talent. They showed glimpses of what they can do out there together, as they combined for Canada’s third goal with Duchene notching his first goal of the tourney. I expect Duchene to keep getting stronger and his line to get more ice time too.
First of all it was great just to see Nathan MacKinnon back skating and playing hockey after his season ending foot injury. MacKinnon was put on the first line with Sidney Crosby and Jason Spezza, and “The Cole Harbour Boys” along with Spezza, stole the show today plain and simple.
MacKinnon started off Canada’s scoring with a great one-timer top shelf from a perfect dish from Spezza. MacK later returned the favor, assisting on both of Spezza’s goals, one of which was a thing of beauty. That line dominated from start to finish, look for that to continue as the tournament goes on.
Ryan O’Reilly had 4th line duties and a PK role so he was not as noticeable as the others. Though he still notched an assist and saw a little bit of PP time as well.
With a disappointing season behind them, the Avalanche players on team Canada have represented Colorado very well and are playing with a lot of confidence. If this form continues, it certainly bodes well for Canada and the Colorado Avalanche going into next season.