, last season’s most steady offensive threat and one of the Colorado Avalanche’s hottest players to begin this year, is starting to heat up.
Jones had two goals on Tuesday night to help lift the Avs to a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks at Pepsi Center, snapping Colorado’s five-game winless streak and extending Chicago’s losing streak to six games.
The forward now has four points in his last two games after scoring on Saturday against Vancouver and assisting on Kyle Quincey’s empty net goal versus Chicago.
“I think we carried over a lot of positive things that we did against Vancouver,” Jones said. “It was a great team effort.”
Jones’ two-goal game was his second multi-goal game of the season (Oct. 15 at Montreal) and ninth of his NHL career. It was also his eighth career three-point game and second of the season (also Oct. 15 at Montreal).
His first tally came 35 seconds after Colorado tied the game at one in the second period. Milan Hejduk forced a turnover along the right wall in the Chicago zone and passed the puck to Jones in the slot, who fired it past goaltender Ray Emery.
Jones’ second score of the night came when Paul Stastny chipped the puck off the boards to him in the neutral zone. He than raced down the right side and released a wrist shot from the circle that beat Emery over the shoulder
Colorado head coach Joe Sacco mixed up the lines prior to the game and it worked out well for Jones, who was paired with Stastny and Hejduk.
“They are giving me a chance with some players that I played with last year,” Jones said of the new line combination. “We had success, and it is nice being back with them, Stastny and Hejduk. They’ll find you anywhere and you just have to be ready.
“We had some good luck tonight and hopefully we can carry this forward.”
The win allows the Avalanche to make up ground in the Western Conference playoff hunt, as they currently sit one point out of a postseason spot.
Colorado concludes its four-game homestand on Friday when the Carolina Hurricanes come to Pepsi Center.
Barrie Makes NHL Debut
Tuesday’s game was a night that Tyson Barrie will never forget, as the defenseman made his NHL debut.
“I think I’ll remember everything,” Barrie said. “Coming out onto the ice for warm-ups was pretty cool. Coming out at the beginning of the game and my first shift obviously. It was cool for me to look across and see some of those big name guys in the Chicago lineup and even playing with some special players here. It was a great experience.”
Barrie, who was called up on Saturday from Lake Erie (AHL), finished with 15:49 time-on-ice, one hit, one takeaway and two blocked shots.
“I was kind of in awe the first couple of shifts and I felt the nerves in the first for sure,” Barrie said. “I was bobbling the puck a bit. In the second, I think I settled down a bit and I got into the game and it was fun.”
Barrie didn’t bobble the puck during a key defensive situation late in the first period. With the rubber along the left wing boards in Colorado’s zone, Barrie was able to keep the puck away from Chicago’s Patrick Sharp – who was right on the rookie’s back – and clear it out of harms way.
“It looked like he had been playing in this league for a couple of years,” said fellow rookie Gabriel Landeskog of Barrie. “It was awesome to see him.”
In 46 games with Lake Erie, Colorado’s fourth pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft had 29 points (five goals and 24 assists), best among AHL rookie defensemen. He also represented the Monsters at the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic.
Turnovers A Killer
With Chicago leading 1-0 after scoring early in the second period, Colorado forced two key turnovers to turn the tide in its favor.
The first came at 3:24 of second period when Ryan O’Reilly forced a turnover in the Avs’ defensive zone, resulting in a 2-on-1 break the other way. Peter Mueller picked up the pass from O’Reilly through a Blackhawks defensemen and easily tipped the puck into the net.
“They chip it out and we have an odd-man rush the other way,” said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.
The second goal came 35 seconds later when Hejduk forced a turnover in the Chicago end and found Jones open between the circles.
Mueller’s and Jones’ tallies were the fastest two goals of the season for Colorado. The previous best was 43 seconds apart by Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny on Nov. 4 at Dallas.
Jiggy Solid, As Usual
Colorado goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 29 saves for his 13th win of the season, and his first since Jan. 21 at Los Angeles.
It was the ninth straight game where Giguere has allowed three goals or less.
Chicago’s only two scores in the game came 31 seconds into the second period and then again at 6:14 of the stanza.
Tuesday’s contest was his 551st career game, leaving him one behind Johnny Bower (552) for 50th place on the NHL's all-time games played list. He is now one victory shy of tying current Avalanche goalie coach, Kirk McLean (245), for 46th place on the all-time wins list.
The Avalanche finished 3-1-0 against the Blackhawks this year, winning the season series for the second straight campaign…The Avs are 6-2-0 in their last eight meetings versus Chicago.
The Avalanche snapped a season-high five-game winless streak with tonight’s victory.
Joe Sacco posted his 100th victory as an NHL head coach…He now owns a 100-99-20 record (.502%) behind the Avalanche’s bench.
Paul Stastny appeared in his 400th career game.
Stastny had two assists tonight, giving him 11 points (2g/9a) in his last 10 games… Stastny’s two helpers equaled his season high set Jan. 21 at Los Angeles.
Peter Mueller now has five goals in his last seven games.
Chicago’s Nick Leddy skated in his 100th NHL game.
Tonight marked the third time this season that Colorado has not received a power-play opportunity (Oct. 22 at Chicago and Jan. 16 at Phoenix).
Jean-Sebastien Giguere has started seven of the last eight games and nine of the last 11.
Giguere’s appearance tonight was his 551st career game, leaving him one behind Johnny Bower (552) for 50th place on the NHL's all-time games played list…He is now one victory shy of tying current Avalanche goalie coach, Kirk McLean (245), for 46th place on the all-time wins list.