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In this edition of NHL Talk, the Colorado Avalanche continue an incredible streak and the Edmonton Oilers’ newest forward prepares to make his team and season debut.
Avalanche Win Ninth Consecutive Game, Hold 14-0-1 Record in the New Year
The Avalanche took down the Chicago Blackhawks, 6-4, on the road on Friday. Colorado is on fire as of late, surging to first place in the NHL with a 31-8-3 record on the season, and a 14-0-1 record since Jan. 1, 2022. The team’s victory over Chicago extends its win streak to nine games in a row.
“I don’t know what it is here recently, but they’re just finding a way to get the job done,” said Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar. “It wasn’t pretty at times tonight, but we’d get guys to make a play here or there to get us a goal. We weren’t perfect defensively, either. We got caught napping a few times. But we’re making plays to prevent goals. It’s something new every night.”
It was a thrilling game for hockey fans, with a combined 10 goals between the two sides. Just to add to the excitement, Avalanche forward J.T. Compher put together a Gordie Howe Hat Trick (goal, assist, fight).
“I think it was [very] nice that I could contribute tonight,” said Compher. “I’ve had a lot of chances recently that haven’t gone in. To see one go in tonight was nice. I think when I’m engaged in the game… means I’m playing a little more physical. Good things seem to come.”
Rookie Avalanche forward Alex Newhook was also celebrating his 21st birthday. At 5:11 of the second period, he had a goal called back with a successful offside challenge by the Blackhawks. He made sure to rectify things by putting the puck in the back of the net again at 2:54 of the third period, this time counting as a good goal.
“I was pretty happy in the moment (when I scored in the second period), but to get it taken away, you reset and keep going,” said Newhook. “I like to think the hockey gods had a bit of something to do with that, seeing it get disallowed on the birthday. To get one back is good.”
Kane Views Himself as a Leader, Hopes to Make Difference Ahead of Oilers Debut
The Oilers signed forward Evander Kane to a one-year deal on Thursday. The 30-year-old has 506 points (264 goals, 242 assists) in 769 career regular-season games and 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 29 playoff matches. Last season, he led the San Jose Sharks in goals (22), assists (27), and points (49), playing in 56 games. The Sharks terminated Kane earlier this month after a breach in his contract and violation of COVID protocols.
“I view myself as a leader,” said Kane on Friday. “It’s funny why people think I’m going to come in and I’m just some kid on the playground that’s going to disrupt everything. That’s just not the case. I’ve had a lot of experience on and off the ice.”
On Saturday, he will make his Oilers debut in a road game against the Montreal Canadiens, wearing number 91. It will also be his first NHL game of the season, after scoring eight points (two goals, five assists) in five games with the San Jose Barracuda in the American Hockey League (AHL). His return to the NHL provides him with a new opportunity in Edmonton.
“I’ve been in this league a long time and I try to share those experiences with guys on the team and try to help prevent them from making those same mistakes that I have,” said Kane. “So I look at it that I’m an experienced guy coming in. I’m looking to add to the group in a positive way and I’m really excited about the opportunity. I think it’s going to be great.”
While some Oilers fans are upset with Kane’s signing, primarily due to his off-ice issues, the new Edmonton forward encourages them to give him a chance.
“I would encourage [the fans] to be open-minded, to allow me to do what I do best and get to know me on the ice, off the ice, around the rink, in the community, and see what I bring to the table,” said Kane. “Every city I’ve been in, I’ve always worked in the community, done what I can to help make that city and that community a better place, and that’s going to be no different here in Edmonton.”
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Tom Pepper is a diehard Montréal Canadiens fan, writing NHL and IIHF content at The Hockey Writers since 2020.