At times during Colorado’s recent skid – specifically following the Avalanche’s 6-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night – Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco has lamented the fact that his team hasn’t been “ready to start on time.”
Three times during Colorado’s four-game winless streak, the opposition netted the first goal relatively early in the contest. That included Tuesday’s loss to the Florida Panthers, when the Avs allowed a Bill Thomas tally 3:08 into the contest, as well as the previously mentioned game against the Lightning, when Nate Thompson scored at the 7:14 mark of the opening frame.
Friday night against the Atlanta Thrashers, the Avalanche burst out of the gates but ended up with nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. Colorado recorded the game’s first eight shots, all of which came within the first 4:35 of the game, but Atlanta netminder Ondrej Pavelec was able to weather the storm and turned aside each attempt.
When the Thrashers finally put a shot on Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson at the 5:37 mark, the result was a Niclas Bergfors goal. So, despite their strong start, the Avs found themselves trailing by a 1-0 score after 20 minutes of play even while outshooting Atlanta by a 16-5 margin.
It didn’t matter in the end, as the Avalanche netted a power-play goal, two short-handed tallies (one an empty-netter) and an even-strength marker en route to a 4-2 victory over the Thrashers, snapping a four-game winless streak in the process.Fleischmann’s First
Playing in his fourth game with the club, forward Tomas Fleischmann posted his first Avalanche goal and his second multi-point contest since being acquired in a trade with the Washington Capitals on Nov. 30.
The Koprivnice, Czech Republic native’s goal came at 4:39 of the middle frame on a second effort. After his initial shot was stopped by Pavelec and Matt Duchene
’s follow-up attempt was also denied, Fleischmann stuck with the play and knocked home a rebound for the power-play goal.
The winger also earned the primary assist on Milan Hejduk
’s goal in the third period – making a nice feed from behind the net to Hejduk out front – and now has four points (1g/3a) in four games with the Avalanche.
Mauldin’s Second Shorty
Forward Greg Mauldin
recorded his second short-handed goal of the season tonight after stripping the puck from Dustin Byfuglien and chipping a shot past Pavelec at 11:01 of the second period while Paul Stastny
was serving two minutes for tripping.
It was the fourth goal of the season overall for Mauldin, whose first career NHL goal was also a short-handed tally. That one came during his Avalanche debut on Nov. 12 against the Columbus Blue Jackets and stood up as the game-winner in a 5-1 triumph.
Mauldin now leads the club in short-handed tallies. A season ago, Ryan O’Reilly and David Jones
tied for the team lead with two shorties. The last Avalanche player to record three in a season was Brad Richardson in 2006-07.Game Notes
Hejduk suffered a groin injury during the third period and could not finish the game…Hejduk netted his 11th goal of the season before leaving the contest, tying him with Chris Stewart and David Jones
for the team lead…After serving as a healthy scratch against Florida, Brandon Yip was inserted back into the lineup tonight and played on a line with Paul Stastny
and Jones…David Koci and Ryan Wilson
were healthy scratches for the Avalanche…Duchene recorded a pair of assists tonight, giving him a three-game point streak (2g/3a) and 13 points (7g/6a) in his past 10 games overall.