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Werner Shines in NHL Debut

Relief goalie Adam Werner made his NHL debut on Tuesday night, with 40 saves and his first NHL win. This game gives the Colorado Avalanche a record of 11-5-2 on the season and a fantastic start to their lengthy road trip. It was the start the team needed, propelling them to a three-game win streak.

Injury Gives Werner a Chance to Shine

Werner was put between the pipes only 31 seconds into the game, with goalie Pavel Francouz brought down hard by Jets forward Mark Scheifele. With Francouz motionless on the ice, the cameras panned to the rookie relief goalie on the bench, as he realized this was going to be his game to play.

The Avalanche weren’t expecting Werner to see ice time this evening, but he nonetheless suited up for an incredible game. He is the first goalie in Avalanche history to record a shutout in his first NHL game played and is also the first Avalanche relief goalie to win in his debut. The game, unfortunately, won’t officially go down as a shutout on his official stat sheet due to the 31 seconds Francouz played.

Werner was called up from the Colorado Eagles on November 7th. In his time with the Eagles, this season, he has posted a record of 5-4-0. He has one AHL shutout thus far and a .908 save percentage.

The Avalanche selected Werner in the fifth round (131st overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft. Prior to his time with the Eagles, he was playing with Farjestad BK of the SHL, finishing the season with a 15-6-3 record and a .926 save percentage. He signed with the Avalanche in May of 2019 to a two-year entry-level contract.

The Avs Continue to Find Ways to Win

Rookie defenseman Cale Makar tallied the first goal of the game. This brings the rookie up to 18 points in 18 games played. His nickname isn’t “Makalder” in the fanbase for nothing, after all. 

Star forward Nathan MacKinnon tallied the next two goals in the third. He finished the night with a goal and three assists. He has two four-point nights in his last three games played. Joonas Donskoi added the fourth goal of the game, making the most of his time on the top line.

While a 4-0 shutout win can hardly be considered ugly, this was far from the Avalanche’s best game this season. Allowing 40 shots on goal with a rookie in the net never looks good, and the majority of those shots came from messy puck possession by the Avalanche. 

Through the first two periods, the Avalanche had some heart-stopping turnovers in all three zones. If Werner hadn’t stepped up in the way he did, this was a very plausible loss for the team.

The Avalanche now sit in the second spot in the Central Division with three games left on this road trip. They face the Vancouver Canucks next, with no answer as to who will start in net following a dismal performance in Edmonton. However, if the team can clean up its defensive play, they still stand a chance at finishing this trip strong.

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Lucas Rozell
Sports Media student and avid Colorado Avalanche fan
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