Former University of Michigan defenseman Matt Hunwick fed Dartmouth College alumnus David Jones for a wrist shot that eluded St. Louis goaltender Jarolsav Halak with 16.4 seconds remaining in sudden death. Colorado improved to 7-7-1, while St. Louis fell to 9-7-1.
Hunwick skated across the blue line on the left side and dropped the puck to Jones, who moved forward and then cut to his right before letting go from the top of the left circle and beating Halak on the glove side, just inside the juncture of the post and crossbar.
“I just went to the middle,” said Jones in a post-game interview with Brian Engblom of NBC Sports Network afterwards. “I don’t know if it hit something, but it felt real good.”
The puck may have deflected off the stick of St. Louis defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, a former Boston University blueliner, but it still lifted the Avs to the win and gave Jones his first goal in 10 games.
Jones now has two goals and three assists for five points in 13 games with Colorado this year. A ninth round draft choice of the Avalanche in 2003, the Ontario native played three years at Dartmouth where he collected 44 goals and 48 assists for 92 points in 100 contests from 2004 to 2007.
Jones turned pro in 2007-08 with Lake Erie (AHL) and joined the Avs for good later that season. In 252 career NHL games, he now has 69-53—122 points, including a pair of 20-goal campaigns.
Hunwick played four years at Michigan, where he posted 24-73—97 points in 163 games from 2003 to 2007, and helped the Wolverines to four NCAA Tournament berths. A seventh-round selection of the Boston Bruins in 2004, he joined the Avalanche in 2010-11 and has collected 16-46—62 points in 259 career NHL contests. His assist on Jones' goal was his first point in 11 games this season.
Colorado will now visit the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Saturday afternoon. The Avs are just one point behind the Kings, who sit in 10th place in the Western Conference and are tied with the Minnesota Wild.