When you go to the net, good things often happen. That includes the lucky bounces.
The Avalanche and Jamie McGinn received one such bounce early in Sunday night's game against the St. Louis Blues and used it to help spur a 5-3 win at Pepsi Center.
The first goal of the game came after the Avs kept the puck in at the St. Louis blue line, and Aaron Palushaj fired a shot that deflected off goaltender Brian Elliott and into the corner. Palushaj chased down the rebound and threw the puck towards the crease where it bounced off McGinn’s skate and into the back of the cage at 11:48. The goal was reviewed and was upheld since McGinn did not have a kicking motion when the puck hit his skate.
Though it wasn’t the prettiest goal, it sparked a three-point night for McGinn, which included another goal and an important assist that ended any hope of a comeback attempt by the Blues. It was his second career three-point game, with his first occurring earlier this season on Feb. 16 at Edmonton (one goal, two assists)
“Really good game. He was hard to play against tonight,” Colorado coach Joe Sacco said of McGinn. “Ginner is at his best when he is physical, when he finishes his checks, when he unnerves the opposition a little bit. He can shoot it and when he gets an opportunity he can bury it, he did it in his second goal. His first goal was a lucky bounce, but you go to the net and you get rewarded.”
The Fergus, Ontario native’s second tally came on a more traditional route early in the second period.
Ryan O’Reilly fought for the puck at the right circle and was able to move it over to McGinn, who perfectly timed himself all alone in the low slot and beat the St. Louis goalie with a far-side shot.
“I’m just trying to bear down on my chances,” McGinn said after the game. “Trying to shoot the puck a lot more. Trying to use my shot and just playing hard.”
For McGinn, it was his first multi-goal game of the year and the third of his NHL career. All three of his multi-goal efforts have come since he was traded to Colorado from San Jose on Feb. 27, 2012 (March 4, 2012 at Minnesota and March 14, 2012 at Buffalo).
His assist came on Chuck Kobasew’s goal with 8:06 remaining and just minutes after St. Louis scored to make it a 4-3 game.
After a Blues scoring chance, McGinn cleared the puck out of the Avs zone and dumped it towards the St. Louis red line with Kobasew chasing after it. Kobasew beat a couple of Blues players to the puck and shot it towards the net where it got past new goalie Jake Allen on the short side.
McGinn had a tough middle part of the season as he went through a stretch of scoring two points in 15 contests. However it appears as though he is starting to find his offensive game as he has seven goals in the last 15 games and is now third on the team with 11 goals this season.
Highlight Reel Move By Matt Duchene
Matt Duchene has had his fair share of highlight reel goals, and he added another one to his archives late in the second period.
From the left corner of the St. Louis zone, Duchene maneuvered his way around defenseman Jordan Leopold, powered his way towards the crease and fired a wrist shot that went top shelf in the net, knocking off the water bottle.
“That was amazing. It was a great effort by Dutchy,” said McGinn. “He pulled it out of the corner and he roofed it. It’s always nice when you knock off the water bottle.”
Prior to the goal, St. Louis was starting to grab some momentum back in the game as the score was 3-2 and they had several good chances on the other end of the ice. One of the chances included a point-blank shot by Alexander Steen, but the Blues forward was robbed on a kick save by Colorado goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Duchene scored his 17th of the year moments later.
“It was a big goal, especially at the end of the second period because they had established some momentum,” Sacco said. “They (St. Louis) were playing well in the second period.”
The Streak Continues
The Avalanche penalty kill streak at home continues.
Colorado killed off three St. Louis power plays on Sunday night and has now gone 16-for-16 on the penalty kill in their last five home games. The Avs rank first in the NHL in home penalty killing percentage at 92.1 percent (82/89).
Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk scored the last visiting power play goal at Pepsi Center on April 5. Since that tally, Colorado has killed off 19 straight penalties on home ice.
The team has allowed just one power-play goal in the last seven games, killing 22-of-23 (95.6 percent). Los Angeles’s Jeff Carter scored the lone goal in the seven-game stretch early in the April 11 contest.
•Colorado has won eight consecutive home games against the Blues (last loss in Denver was April 12, 2009).
•Overall, the Avs are 11-2-1 in their last 14 games against St. Louis.
•The Avalanche finished 2-1-1 on this four-game homestand, which equaled Colorado’s longest stay of the season (Feb. 2-11).
•Jamie McGinn tied his career high with two goals and three points tonight.
•Jan Hejda tied his career high with a +4 rating tonight…He was also +4 on Jan. 2, 2009 at Colorado and Feb. 8, 2011 at Pittsburgh, both as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets…Hejda’s +4 mark equals the best rating by an Avalanche player this season, as Chuck Kobasew was +4 on March 20 vs. Dallas.
•Jean-Sebastien Giguere recorded his 251st career win, passing Hall-of-Famer Johnny Bower (250) for sole possession of 45th place on the all-time wins list.
•Cody McLeod has now scored four goals in his last four games.