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Positivity Paying Off For Avalanche

The club has won back-to-back games

by Ryan Boulding @rboulding /

The Colorado Avalanche took the lead three separate times on Thursday night before finally topping the New Jersey Devils 3-2 at Pepsi Center.

That's the power of positivity.

"We're being positive, celebrating little things," netminder Calvin Pickard, who made 25 saves in the victory, said of the vibe of the team. "We got to be positive in here, on the ice, and we've been working, too. We've been working hard and playing our game, and when we do that we're going to have success."

The Avs came out swinging in the first period, hammering New Jersey with a 10-3 shot differential after 20 minutes. Still tied at 0-0 in the second, New Jersey began to tilt the ice, but the Avalanche remained the dominate force after Nathan MacKinnon picked up a marker on one of the squad's two shots in the stanza.

Video: Goalie Calvin Pickard on the Avs' win over Devils

In the third, both team's traded tallies before Francois Beauchemin broke a 2-2 deadlock with 1:14 remaining to lift the Avs to victory. 

"I really liked our first period. I liked it a lot, thought we had lots of jump. Passed up on some shooting opportunities I thought in the first period," head coach Jared Bednar said, recapping the the contest. "We did a good job, created some good chances, kept them to-I don't even know if they had a real quality scoring chance in the first. Second period and third period, I thought we looked tired. They started getting first to pucks. They were outworking us. I thought we outworked them in the first, and they outworked us for the the remainder, the final 40 minutes.

"We had a couple guys who were going tonight and continued their game through the 60 minutes. We scored some timely goals and some big goals, and we were good defensively again; kept the shots down, kept the scoring chances down. We'll take the win. It was a good win. Guys were positive on the bench again and working through it. We were able to build the lead twice and scored enough. Beauch comes up with a big goal after a good shift from the [John] Mitchell line, and we get enough to win."

The important thing about the victory was that Colorado believed it could be the triumphant team. After a scoreless first period where the hard work didn't produce a lead, after the 1-0 advantage dissipated 42 seconds into the final frame, and after the Devils tied it up again early in the third, the Avs never broke down or let up.

"The vibe is very positive, even though [we're in] the situation we're in. It's really positive. We're sticking together, and the last two games it's shown that we can win some games as well," Sven Andrighetto said. "The game is 60 minutes. So we got to keep going until the end and have a good attitude, be positive on the bench, work with each other, support each other, and at the end of the day it will pay off."

 Video: Francois Beauchemin discusses Avs' win over Devils

"Had a great first. Second wasn't as good, and we still had a 1-0 lead going forward," Pickard said. "It's a good spot after two periods. They come out and get the early goal and we bounce right back, and I loved that about us tonight. When they would score we would push right back, and that's a good step for us."

The victory was the club's 10th on home ice, and Bednar admitted that playing for the fans is something the team is focusing on.

"It's important for us. We want to play well in front of our fans," he said. "They've been supporting us and it's been a tough year, but they keep coming out and cheering us on. When we're playing well, you can feel the enthusiasm in the rink, and our guys are conscious of that. So I think coming and playing well at home is important to us. We have this homestand here, and we want to make the most of it."



The Colorado Avalanche entered Thursday's game with a lot of objectives, and one of them was reducing the amount of penalties taken.

Colorado was ranked fifth in the league in penalties taken with 285 before the puck dropped at Pepsi Center, which meant the club spent roughly 10 minutes per game in the sin bin.

"We haven't been drawing a lot of penalties," head coach Jared Bednar said in the morning. "We take our fair share. We're trying to cut that number down. That's been an issue for us in and out through the course of the season."

Video: Avs coach Jared Bednar on the Avs' win vs. Devils

When the final horn sounded and the New Jersey Devils had been defeated, the Avalanche had only one minor infraction on the books.

Rene Bourque's two-minute roughing penalty tied the season-low for the fewest penalty minutes in a game this year, a feat the squad has accomplished four other times. 



Nathan MacKinnon's marker was his second in as many matches after going scoreless in his previous 15 games. He now has 14 goals and a team-leading 44 points.

Sven Andrighetto recorded his second assist in as many contests. Thursday was just his third game with the squad after being acquired from the Montreal Canadiens on March 1.

"When you watch him play, the first thing that comes to mind is his work ethic and his speed," Bednar said of the newly-acquired forward. "A committed defensive guy, good vision; he tracks the puck as well as anyone on our team already after [three] games. Comes all the way back into the D-zone with speed to help out and breaks up a lot of plays on their breakouts and in the neutral zone. That's leading for him into some offensive chances. He's doing things right on the offensive side, and when it turns he gets to play more in the offensive zone. He's finding a way to make a few plays a game, and he's tenacious. He stays on pucks."

For the Zurich, Switzerland, native, only one thing matters.

Video: Postgame interview with Sven Andrighetto 

"More important is that we get the two wins the last two games," Andrighetto said, passing off credit to the team effort. "I'm not focusing on the points myself. If I play the game right, work hard, the points will come by themselves."

Tyson Barrie assisted on the first-period marker, bringing his two-game total to four points. 

Calvin Pickard registered his third career assist on MacKinnon's tally. It was Pickard's second helper of the season. He's now tied for the league lead in points among goaltenders (Matt Murray, Al Montoya, Tuukka Rask, Andrei Vasilevskiy).

Rene Bourque's goal in the third stanza was his 11th of the season, his highest total since he buried 18 in the 2011-12 campaign. He now has three points (two goals, one assist) in seven games since returning from injury. 

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