Avs opening evening: 5 takeaways from a 5-2 win over Chicago
On banner evening, Artturi Lehkonen had one himself.
Lehkonen, a Stanley Cup-winning hero acquired by the Avs from Montreal final March, scored two second-period targets and added an help to assist energy Colorado to a 5-2 win over Chicago on the opening evening of the 2022-23 season late Wednesday evening at Ball Arena.
As the Avs’ season-opening street journey extends from Calgary — that includes outdated buddy Nazem Kadri — on Thursday night and into Minnesota on Monday, listed below are 5 takeaways from the workforce’s lid-lifter and ones to control when the subsequent homestand at Chopper Circle begins on Oct. 19:
1. See that, Broncos? Now THAT’S the way you open a season!: Thirty-five photographs. Thirty-two hits. Six power-play alternatives. Four power-play targets. One championship banner. The Avs picked issues up just about proper the place they left them within the Stanley Cup playoffs final June. Colorado had been annoyed by Chicago goalie Petr Mrazek early, because the hosts peppered the Czech netminder with seven shot makes an attempt, solely to be denied. But as soon as the eighth shot discovered the again of the online, it opened up the flood gates. Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar skated circles across the outmanned guests, and the power-play mixture of MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Lehkonen was every kind of enjoyable to look at. To defend? Not a lot.
2. Val Nichushkin cash cash well-spent.: Has there been a greater hockey marriage than Big Val and this technique, given the items round him? Nichushkin, who signed an eight-year, $49-million extension with the Avs over the summer time, is bringing every thing to the desk proper now. He’s snug sniping from the circles or the corners. He’s quick sufficient to skate with any line. He’s so huge — 6-foot-4, 210 kilos — that if you might want to him to play Gabe Landeskog’s function of tenting out in entrance of the crease, only a few defenders can transfer him off the spot with out incurring a penalty within the course of. He kicked the season off with two targets, and it feels as if well being is the one factor standing between the gifted Russian and a Kadri-like breakout marketing campaign.
3. Is Alexandar Georgiev any good? Too early to inform.: The Avs’ greatest low season acquisition had a quiet opening evening, comparatively talking — really, the type of quiet evening his predecessor, Darcy Kuemper, used to have on a regular basis. In his Colorado regular-season debut, Georgiev confronted 17 photographs, stopped 15 of them, posted an 88.2% save share, and watched as many of the motion happened on the opposite facet of the ice. Both Chicago targets got here whereas the Avs had been short-handed.
4. Are the Blackhawks any good? That can be a no.: But veteran mainstays comparable to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, holdovers from Chicago’s dynasty of a decade earlier, positive would look good in burgundy and blue on the commerce deadline. The 35-year-old Toews and the 33-year-old Kane are each slated to grow to be unrestricted free brokers after this season.
5. The champs opened with class.: The banner-raising ceremony provided one thing for everyone. Rock stars (Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus). Rock live performance pyrotechnics. Lord Stanley himself. But maybe the good second, and the one which even outdated cynics appreciated, was when Blackhawks defenseman — and former Av — Jack Johnson joined in for the images with, and the elevating of, the 2022 Stanley Cup championship banner. A yr in the past at the moment, the 35-year-old d-man was a PTO candidate in Denver whose profession was regarded as on its final legs. He not solely made the roster however really went on to notch the Avs’ first aim of the ’21-22 common season — in opposition to the Blackhawks, no much less. He additionally helped to regular the defensive rotation some whereas Bo Byram was therapeutic. It takes a village to raise a Cup, and it was nice to see Johnson acknowledged one final time for his function in that journey.
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