PHILADELPHIA — The Avalanche, despite having a goal-against awarded and another disallowed, rallied from a three-goal deficit to collect a point in Saturday’s 6-5 overtime loss at Ottawa. Colorado (12-7-2), which had Sunday off in Philadelphia, is 1-1-1 on its five-game road trip heading into Monday’s game against the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center.
Takeaways from Ottawa
Taser. Avs defenseman Devon “Taser” Toews was as good (better?) as the scratched Cale Makar in running the No. 1 power play and also leading the offense from the high slot at even strength.
Toews logged a season-high 31:17 — most by an Avalanche player this season.
He had two big slap shots up high that created goals — a redirection by Gabe Landeskog on the first and scoring his own on the second to force overtime. Toews played 2:03 of Colorado’s 2:07 on the power play and 2:25 of 4:17 on the penalty kill.
In Toronto on Wednesday, Avs center Nathan MacKinnon said the Toews-Makar pairing is the best in the league and both should make the Canadian Olympic team if the NHL sends its players. That certainly has merit. Makar, when healthy, is the Norris Trophy frontrunner as the flashy goal scorer and end-to-end playmaker. Toews isn’t as flashy but is productive — and $4.9 million cheaper than Makar’s $9 million cap hit.
With Sam Girard in the mix and Bo Byram possibly on the cusp of returning from another concussion setback, this blue line, when healthy, is potentially awesome. Colorado already leads the league with 23 goals from defensemen.
Those injuries. The Avalanche collected a point without nearly one-third of its preferred lineup. It came against an opponent with the NHL’s third-worst winning percentage (.295) but the Senators were coming off a 3-2 win at Carolina — certainly one of the league’s best teams.
Makar, Byram, goalie Darcy Kuemper and forward Nazem Kadri are “day-to-day,” coach Jared Bednar said, and forward J.T. Compher is joining the team here in Philly and could return against the Flyers or at the New York Rangers on Wednesday. Also, goalie Pavel Francouz is coming off a 27-save shutout for the AHL’s Colorado Eagles on Saturday in a 4-0 win over Tucson. Francouz, who suffered a lower-body injury in the NHL preseason, is on a conditioning stint with the Eagles. He’s scheduled to be back with the Avs this week.
At some point, the slew of injuries will slow and this team will be at full force and take aim at climbing atop the Central Division standings.
Newhook. Rookie forward Alex Newhook, 20, had a highlight-reel goal and an assist for his first two-point game of the season. He was also a season-best plus-2. The Avs, now forced to lean on youngsters in their relatively inexpensive entry-level contracts to balance the big deals given to veterans, expect Newhook’s steady production to continue and solidify bottom-six scoring.
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