The Colorado Avalanche started its three-game home stand off strong with a win over the St. Louis Blues, 6-3, Monday night at Pepsi Center.
John-Michael Liles continued to make big plays for the Avalanche. Liles finished the game with two goals and one assist, which ties his career highs for both goals in a game and points in a game.
“He was trusting his instincts, making good reads joining the play at the right time,” said Avs coach Joe Sacco, who continues to praise the talented Avs defenseman with his performance this year.
The Avs solved St. Louis Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who has been unstoppable in net with a 1.79 goals-against average and .932 save percentage.
Sacco considered the defense’s ability to make plays a key to the team’s success.
“We talked before the game about getting back to our style of play,” Sacco said. “Our D made good decisions as far as when to pinch when not to pinch. We had good support from our forwards coming back allowing our D to do that. We’re an effective team when we play that way.”
Brandon Yip’s goal late in the second period turned out to be the game-winner after having initially been waved off. The team was confident that the puck had bounced off yip’s chest and not his hand.
“We knew right away it was just a matter of them getting the right call,” Sacco said.
The Blues upped the intensity as the game progressed and the team found themselves falling farther behind on the scoreboard. Instead of having that intensity lead to more goals, it instead led to heated tempers.
Avs youngster Matt Duchene had his first NHL fight against Vladimir Sobotka. While both teams were pushing and shoving in the corner, Duchene and Sobotka had each other at arms length until suddenly, the gloves flew off. The crowd roared as Duchene landed some good hits and brought Sobotka to his knees. Duchene proved to his team and the league that he can hold his own.
“It’s one of those things,” said Duchene. “The heat of the moment. It’s good to get some of that in sometimes. You get a little bit more respect with some guys.”
The crowd was on its feet cheering—even after Duchene had made his way to the box.
The Avalanche had Ryan Wilson and Captain Adam Foote back from injury tonight.
“Having Ryan Wilson back I think he brings a different element to our team,” Sacco said. “He plays hard.”
Foote’s second period assist earned him his 254th career point. He now has the franchise record for most points by a defenseman.
The home stand continues on Wednesday when the Avalanche will face the San Jose Sharks.