After battling through injuries during the 2017-18 campaign, Colin Wilson has made his presence known through the first two games of the new season.
Wilson scored twice in 12:36 of ice time to help the Colorado Avalanche to its second win in as many outings with a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at Pepsi Center on Saturday.
"I got healthy in the offseason, did a lot of work on the ice as well just to get my confidence back, and it feels good to be making plays out there and be contributing offensively right now," Wilson said. "I think it's been two good games. I am in a good position right now on my line, and I feel substantially better than I did at this point last year."
He tallied 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 56 outings last season and missed a total of 26 games due to different injuries.
"I just feel a little bit more confident with the puck and at the same time I am on a great line right now," he said. "I think we are all finding each other really well so things are just clicking."
Video: Colin Wilson following his two-goal game
His two goals matched a career high and mark the 10th multi-goal game of his career, his first with the Avalanche.
"I thought he was awesome tonight in a lot of different ways," said head coach Jared Bednar. "He was strong on the puck, he was moving, he was creating chances for himself and his linemates. He had two, he could have had more. I thought (Philadelphia goaltender Brian) Elliott made a good poke check on that breakaway on the power play. It just looked like he was moving in the right spots, he had a really good night."
The Greenwich, Connecticut, native was on a line with second-year forwards Alexander Kerfoot and Tyson Jost. Kerfoot had two helpers in the contest against Philadelphia and has recorded three points (assists) through the first two games of the campaign.
"[Wilson] has been a good player for a long time," said Kerfoot. "He is hard on pucks, makes good plays throughout the neutral zone and the offensive zone, and I think that he creates a lot of space for the guys that play with him.
"It's just really been a couple games [that we have been together], but I think that we have been doing a good job feeding off of each other and I think that the more we play the more we will figure each other out."
Video: PHI@COL: Wilson shovels home big rebound in front
Wilson's first goal came 1:35 into the contest after he picked up Kerfoot's rebound in front of the crease and he backhanded it into the Flyers' net.
The contest went back and forth until Wilson recorded his second marker of the night, which came on the power play and made it a two-goal game in the closing minutes of the third period.
"Both of [my goals] were just going to the net," said Wilson. "The first one, I was fighting for position, E.J. took the shot, Kerf was trying to get to it too. He took a swipe at it then I got a swipe at it. The second one, I just went to the net and it popped out from Sod's and had an empty net, so it was just about going to the net tonight."
Video: PHI@COL: Wilson earns second goal on power play
VARLY VARLY: Semyon Varlamov earned his second win of the young campaign, making 35 saves on 37 shots.
One of his biggest came during a 4-on-4 situation at the end of the second period when he quickly pushed off his right side to catch the puck in his glove to maintain a 3-2 Avalanche lead.
"I thought he was outstanding tonight," Bednar said. "He comes in with a huge save 4-on-4 shortly after [Philadelphia's second goal] where they seam it from behind the net, we kind of have our back to it. I think it was [Jakub] Voracek who got a great shot away, and he comes up with that glove save and saves a goal there."
Video: Semyon Varlamov on the Avs' win vs. Flyers
PENALTY KILLERS: Colorado finished 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and has not allowed a power-play goal in six chances through the first two games of the season.
"I think we are doing the right things, we had a couple breakdowns again tonight, it's early in the year. We are still kind of getting in sync, we got a couple new players on there," said Bednar. "We are missing a good penalty killer in [Patrik] Nemeth, who was out of the lineup tonight, but you got to be happy with the results we are getting. Even when we are giving up the chances, Varly looks really good in net and you need him to be in those situations."
Nemeth missed the contest with a minor upper-body injury, and Mark Barberio replaced him in the lineup. Barberio finished the game with four attempted shots and 13:55 of ice time in his season debut.
SOME PLAYER NOTES: Erik Johnson matched a career high with three points in the contest, the seventh three-point game of his career. His last outing with three points came on March 4, 2014 against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Nathan MacKinnon notched his first multi-point game of the campaign and has three points (two goals, one assist) through the first two contests of the season.
Defenseman Samuel Girard finished the outing with a plus-3 rating, matching a career best (March 2, 2018 versus the Minnesota Wild).
J.T. Compher has tallied a goal in two-straight contests, matching a career-long goal scoring streak (Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2018).
Video: Avs coach Jared Bedar on the win vs. Philly