At the peak of the Ryan O'Reilly turmoil, two other young Avalanche players had breakout games Thursday night in a 4-3 shootout victory at Minnesota. Defenseman Tyson Barrie logged a team-high 25:58 of ice time and winger Aaron Palushaj scored his first goal with the Avs in his second game.
Barrie, 21, has been asked to replace the injured Erik Johnson and run the point on the Avs' No. 1 power play. The unit had only two opportunities against the Wild, but Barrie helped set up Milan Hejduk's power-play goal that gave Colorado a 2-1 lead.
Earlier, the 23-year-old Palushaj capped a nice passing play by linemates Paul Stastny and David Jones to give the Avalanche a 1-0 lead. Palushaj outraced a defender to the net and tapped in Jones' centering feed.
"I thought he played well," Avs coach Joe Sacco said of Palushaj. "It was a good play by Jonesey, who made a nice pass over to him. (Palushaj) did some good things offensively. I cut him back a little bit in the third (period), when it was a tie game. But certainly he's got some offensive jam to his game that I like."
Palushaj was picked up off waivers Feb. 5, after he came off the Montreal Canadiens' injured reserve list. He began the season with Montreal's American Hockey League affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, but was recovering from a fractured collarbone when the NHL lockout ended last month. Once he was medically cleared, Montreal had to put him on waivers to send him back to Hamilton.
Tyson Barrie, Aaron Palushaj look like keepers for Colorado Avalanche
Denver Post | Feb 16