Comeback wins should be celebrated by fans as something to be proud of, an achievement by the players on the ice. For the Colorado Avalanche, these are simply becoming part of the normal routine.
Again, the Avalanche fought back, this time to beat the New York Islanders 5-3 on Tuesday night at Ball Arena. They went into the second intermission 3-2 down but found a way to score three goals in the final period of the contest to come out on top. Here are our three takeaways from the game.
Jack Johnson Reaches 1000 Games
The night began with celebrations of Jack Johnson’s NHL career. He was playing his 1000th game and based on his play with the team so far this season, there are no signs he is ready to slow down just yet.
Johnson has provided stability and reliability that many believed he wouldn’t when the Avalanche signed him in the summer. He was originally signed to play the seventh defenseman role, stepping in when needed to cover for injuries and other absences.
A constant run of injuries, plus health concerns with Bowen Byram, has led Johnson to a greater role than he could have imagined when signing that deal. At the moment, he finds himself partnered with Samuel Girard on the second defensive pairing, putting him ahead of Erik Johnson and Ryan Murray on the depth chart, and you can’t say that hasn’t been deserved.
There are talks that the Avalanche want to bring in another depth defenseman before the trade deadline, especially given the unknown timescale attached to Byram. Even if that does happen, don’t be surprised if Jack Johnson keeps his place in the lineup ahead of either Murray or Erik Johnson.
Puck Luck or Finding a Way to Win?
Depending on how you view the Avalanche right now, you will probably have a different opinion of the game last night. Did the Avs get puck luck and were fortunate to take two points, or did they simply dig deep and find a way to win, without playing the kind of hockey we are used to seeing from them?
For me, it’s the latter, this team looks to be set up a little different this season, which bodes well for the playoffs, though of course, they do have to show us that when they get there. In the seasons gone by, this team would have failed to get going in the third and lost the game.
This season? To be honest, I, and no doubt many other Avalanche fans, sat back at the start of the third period, and still expected them to win the game. The goal/no goal call was big, and that went in favor of Colorado, but even if that had been given as a goal to the Islanders, I would have still fancied the Avs to come back and win.
Bad Night for Kuemper
Looking at the scoreline and the fact that the Avalanche took home the two points, this shouldn’t matter. However, we did not see the best of Darcy Kuemper in this game. He conceded three goals, ones that he would have saved on any other day, and elsewhere in the game, he didn’t look anywhere near his best.
Yes, it doesn’t matter, but for a club that has a long-standing worry over its goaltending, this is not what you want to see. Kuemper will be looking to bounce back later this week, and let’s hope he does because the Avalanche do not want goaltending questions hanging over them at the trade deadline, further clouding the water when it comes to working out their needs.
The Avalanche have two more games this week, beginning with a road game against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night followed by a home game against the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
Craig Jones is a freelance NHL writer from the UK, covering the Colorado Avalanche. Watching the NHL from afar, Craig has followed the Avs for more than two decades, and wrote about them for almost one. To get the UK perspective of the NHL and everything Colorado, follow Craig on Twitter @craigjones29.