Opening-night on Wednesday could be the start of season-long, rip-roaring moments at Ball Arena, where the Stanley Cup-or-bust Avalanche came out buzzing before the first capacity crowd in the building since March 11, 2020.
Minus superstar center Nathan MacKinnon and head coach Jared Bednar — both in COVID protocol — the Avs played distraction-free hockey in defeating the storied Chicago Blackhawks 4-2.
Colorado got goals from Jack Johnson (breakaway) and Gabe Landeskog (redirection) within 1:22 early in the first period and led 3-0, thanks to rookie Bo Byram’s first career goal, just 9:34 in. The Avs outshot the Blackhawks 16-2 in the first 11 minutes before the Blackhawks regrouped after taking their timeout.
“(A fast start) was something we talked about, just being…
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