VANCOUVER – Mikkel Boedker picked an opportune time to show his new team what he can do offensively.
The Avalanche forward scored twice to lift Colorado back into playoff position with a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday.
Boedker, who came to the Avs at the trade deadline from Arizona, scored the go-ahead goal 37 seconds into the third with impressive move around the Vancouver defence.
“It’s huge,” said Boedker. “That’s what we all want, we all want to be a difference maker and make good plays and make things happen and I think it’s huge for your confidence.
“It definitely feels good when you can come in and produce and help your team.”
The win boosted the Avs to 76 points, one point ahead of Minnesota for the last wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
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Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy has been trying to make Boedker feel more comfortable and confident with his new team. He even went over game video with the Dane during the morning skate Wednesday.
It appears to have paid off.
“My thoughts were he was playing really well and he just needed to play with more confidence and things will turn around for him,” said Roy. “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.”
Andreas Martinsen also scored for the Avalanche (36-31-4), which will look to stay above the wild-card cut off when they meet Calgary on Friday.
Henrik Sedin scored for Vancouver (27-30-12), which completed a four-game home stand 2-2, but are now 10 points back of the Avs in the wild-card race and fading fast.
On the bright side for Vancouver fans was the NHL debut of Russian rookie Nikita Tryamkin. The six-foot-seven, 228-pound defenceman, who signed with Vancouver last week after finishing his KHL season, logged just over 11 minutes ice time and even recorded his first NHL point — a second assist on Sedin’s goal.
“I thought he was good for his first game,” said Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins. “I think that’s a real challenge to come over. This is a fast team for him. I think he had adjustments to make, but if you look at everything he had a pretty good first game.”
Vancouver scored first at 12:00 as Daniel Sedin’s shot rebounded right to Henrik Sedin at the face-off circle and he deposited the puck for his 11th of the year.
The Avs got on the board just 66 seconds later as Matt Duchene passed to Jarome Iginla who then found Boedker at the side of the net for the one-timer. That extended Duchene’s point streak to four games.
With defenceman Francois Beauchemin off for hooking, the Canucks peppered Varlamov with shots but couldn’t solve the Russian netminder, extending their power-play slump to 0-for-17.
Boedker’s second came when he swooped around defenceman Ben Hutton and lifted the puck past Miller on the glove side to make it 2-1. Martinsen increased Colorado’s lead to 3-1 at 5:31 by banking the puck off Miller, who finished with 31 saves.
Semyon Varlamov, who stopped 28 shots for Colorado, says the Avs can control their playoff destiny.
“It’s up to us now. We are in a good position. We just need to win our games.”
Notes: The Avalanche were without forward Gabriel Landeskog, who is serving a three-game suspension for his hit on Anaheim’s Simon Despres. … Tryamkin is the ninth player to make his NHL debut with Vancouver this season.