by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Correspondent
VANCOUVER, BC – MARCH 16: Alexandre Grenier #65 of the Vancouver Canucks and Erik Johnson #6 Semyon Varloamov #1 watch a Henrik Sedin #33 of the Vancouver Canucks score a goal in their NHL game against the Colorado Avalanche at Rogers Arena March 16, 2016 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Avalanche won 3-1. (Photo by Derek Cain/ISN)
VANCOUVER — Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy met with Mikkel Boedker on Wednesday morning to try and spark some offensive confidence in his new forward.
It paid off quickly against the Vancouver Canucks.
Boedker scored twice and Colorado regained the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with a 3-1 victory against the Canucks at Rogers Arena.
“Keep playing, just be a little more confident and keep going to the net and good things are going to happen,” Boedker said when asked about Roy’s message. “It worked out pretty well.”
VANCOUVER, BC – MARCH 16: Semyon Varloamov #1 of the Colorado Avalanche watches the play during their NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena March 16, 2016 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Avalanche won 3-1. (Photo by Derek Cain/ISN)
Boedker’s second goal broke a 1-1 tie 37 seconds into the third period. Andreas Martinsen scored less than five minutes later for the Avalanche (36-31-4), who moved one point ahead of the Minnesota Wild. Colorado has 11 games left in the regular season; Minnesota has 12.
“We need to play all of them like they are our last game,” said goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who made 28 saves for Colorado. “I feel like playoffs start for us right now.”
The Avalanche acquired Boedker in a Feb. 29 trade with the Arizona Coyotes to be a big part of that playoff push, but he came into Wednesday with one goal in six games despite several great scoring chances. Roy met with him in the morning to go over some game film.
“I just want to give him some confidence,” Roy said. “My thoughts were he was playing really well and he just needed to play with more confidence and things will turn around for him. I really feel his game is right there and sometimes if you are just more confident around the net things will go your way and I thought that’s what he did tonight.”
Boedker wondered if his luck would ever change after he set up Nathan MacKinnon for an open net early in the first period only to see the shot bounce off both posts and out.
“We were even talking about it on the bench, like we’ve had some good chances and we have been right there,” Boedker said. “That post-post was one of the last bad ones before the good ones came.”
VANCOUVER, BC – MARCH 16: Nikita Tryamkin #88 of the Vancouver Canucks takes to the ice by himself during pregame warmup prior to their NHL game against the Colorado Avalanche at Rogers Arena March 16, 2016 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Avalanche won 3-1. (Photo by Derek Cain/ISN)
The first came on a broken play just 66 seconds after Henrik Sedin opened the scoring 12 minutes into the first period. Matt Duchene stole the puck from defenseman Ben Hutton in the corner and fed Jarome Iginla in the slot for a shot attempt that bounced off a defender and straight to a wide-open Boedker, who had an empty net to the right of goalie Ryan Miller.
“There was a lot of key moments in that game,” Roy said. “When they took the 1-0 lead and we scored right after, that was good for our confidence.”
Boedker put the Avalanche ahead on a nice individual effort on the first shift of the third period. He beat Hutton wide around the right faceoff dot, pulling the puck from his backhand to his forehand as he went around the Vancouver defenseman, and then beat Miller with a quick short-side wrist shot over the glove.
“We all want to be a difference maker and make good plays and make things happen,” Boedker said. “I think it’s huge for your confidence.”
VANCOUVER, BC – MARCH 16: Mikkel Boedker #89 of the Colorado Avalanche settles a bouncing puck with his glove during their NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena March 16, 2016 in Vancouver, BritishColumbia, Canada. The Avalanche won 3-1. (Photo by Derek Cain/ISN)
Miller made 31 saves for the Canucks (27-30-12), who are 10 points behind Colorado.
“It would have been tougher if it would have been a Stanley Cup contender going through this,” Henrik Sedin said. “We know where we are. It’s tough to win games in this League. We are trying to understand that and get better.”
Nikita Tryamkin, a 6-foot-7 Russian defenseman, made his NHL debut for the Canucks less than two weeks after his season in the Kontinental Hockey League ended, and the 21-year-old had his first point on Sedin’s game-opening goal. Tryamkin one-timed a point shot that Varlamov stopped, but the rebound was shot off a leg by Daniel Sedin and went to Henrik, who had an open net with Varlamov stranded.
VANCOUVER, BC – MARCH 16: Jack Skille #8 of the Colorado Avalanche plays the puck past a diving Nikita Tryamkin #88 of the Vancouver Canucks in their NHL game at Rogers Arena March 16, 2016 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Avalanche won 3-1. (Photo by Derek Cain/ISN)
“I really enjoyed my first game in the NHL,” Tryamkin said through an interpreter. “The rink was smaller, everything was faster. The other team played very well. … I needed more time to adapt to the new fast pace.”
Martinsen, taking the place of suspended captain Gabriel Landeskog, made it 3-1 with a sharp-angled shot that went in off Miller by the glove on the short side.
Miller wasn’t happy with either of the third-period goals.
“I would like to do that one over,” Miller said of the second goal. “The third one too. I thought I had it sealed up. He hit me hard on the body and it found a way in.”