Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie is on a roll at just the right time. The 24-year-old rear guard scored two huge goals in an important 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night and assisted on another.
Down by one less than 10 minutes into the match, Barrie picked up a helper on John Mitchell’s equalizer after he fired a shot that caromed to Blake Comeau. Comeau fed Mitchell, who was all alone atop the crease, for the easy marker.
“I was just kind of standing in front of the net. Tyson had a shot from the point, and it just missed the net,” Mitchell said. “Then it got around to [Comeau] and we kind of made eye contact there, and I was just able to stay in that spot. I kind of knew that he was going to throw it across, so I just made sure I had my stick on the ice.”
After that, it was all Tyson, all the time.
The Victoria, British Columbia, native gave Colorado a 2-1 lead just 1:23 into the second stanza on a beautiful tap-in redirect after Jarome Iginla fed him on the back door and then fired a wrist shot from the top of the circle to record the eventual game-winning goal in the third.
“That was a great play by Iggy. I was just trying to jump into the play, and the way it worked out, I ended up in front of the net,” Barrie said of his first tally. “Iggy made a great play, and all I had to do was just put my stick down.”
The second one took a little more finesse.
“You want to try and throw a little deception in there. That’s what I was trying to do, and I’m happy it worked,” Barrie said, admitting he used a head fake to trick goaltender Cam Talbot. “To be honest, I think they got a little confused when I came to the middle. [Alex Tanguay] made a great play, just kind of laid it in there so I could skate into it. [Nathan MacKinnon] had a great screen. I honestly don’t even know where it went. I just tried to shoot it through the screen, and I got lucky it snuck through.”
Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy wasn’t just pleased with Barrie’s offensive output on Saturday. The bench manager commended his defenseman for his play on the other side of the puck as well.
“He’s very good offensively. He supports the rush really well, and tonight, what I liked about him is he defended well as well,” Roy said. “It was a great performance by him.”
Overall, the Avalanche had a solid effort on both sides of the rink. The club outshot Edmonton for two of three periods—including by a 29-27 final count—and outhit the home team 22-20 as well.
“We played really well. We had a lot of jump, we were quick on pucks, we were solid in our battles. I thought we dominated that game. I was very happy with our performance,” Roy said. “Tonight was a solid performance. We liked our game tonight. Hopefully, we’ll bring this [play to] the table tomorrow night.”
The Avs improved to 18-13-0 on the road, an area that has been key in the club holding a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
“We’re playing well. Tonight, we were skating really well,” Roy said. “On the road, we seem to play with a lot of confidence and find ways to score those goals, and we’ve been defending well. [Calvin Pickard] was good in key moments in that game. It was a really solid team effort tonight.”
Barrie now has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his last five games, including four points (two goals, two assists) in the last two contests, and 40 points (10 goals, 30 assists) in 56 matches this season. He’s also eager to move on to the next one, a Sunday showdown against the Vancouver Canucks.
“We’re just trying to get out of here quick, put this behind us,” said Barrie. “We’ve got a huge game tomorrow in Vancouver. These are the fun ones, the back-to-back ones late in the season where you get to grind it out. The boys enjoy those, so it will be a lot of fun for us tomorrow.”
Avalanche rear guard Nick Holden reached a career milestone on Saturday night when he took the ice at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta. The 28-year-old defenseman, signed as a free agent by Colorado on July 5, 2013, skated in his 200th career contest.
The St. Albert, Alberta, native also got a bit of a homecoming on Saturday, playing in front of family and friends in his birth province, making the accomplishment that much sweeter.
“I’m pumped. I get to go home, see my parents, see friends, family, grandparents and stuff like that,” he said on Friday. “It’s always nice going back, especially growing up in that area, watching games in Edmonton. It’s always fun to play there.”
Holden has 58 points (19 goals, 39 assists) in his 200 NHL games, all of which have come in his 193 contests played with the Avs.
Avalanche veteran Jarome Iginla received a nice honor on Saturday when the Edmonton Oilers played a tribute to commend him for recording 600 career goals. Now at 606 markers, Iginla accomplished the feat on Jan. 4 while playing the Los Angeles Kings.
A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Iginla being honored by the Oilers comes with a tinge of irony as the 38-year-old legend has registered 89 points (38 goals, 51 assists) in 96 games against his hometown hockey club. His totals are the most he’s managed against any team in the NHL and are also the most that any active skater has recorded against Edmonton.
Iginla continued his local dominance with his second-period assist on Barrie’s first marker.
“It was really nice from the Oilers [and] fans, but he deserves it,” Roy said of the tribute. “He’s been a solid player his entire career, and it’s nice to see that [happen]. He made a really nice play to Tyson on that goal.”
Iginla leads the Avs with 10 points (four goals, six assists) in nine games in February.