The Avalanche follows the trend of dominating, letting the team fight back, then stepping on their throats in a 4-2 win over Coyotes in the season-series finale.
The Avalanche came into the weekend with questions on size and goaltending. They left the weekend with a new winning streak, a new goalie, and just a few hours before puck-drop, something old, that became new. Carl Soderberg was announced to having been traded from Chicago to Colorado whom he played for from 2015-2019. Joining Patrik Nemeth and Devan Dubnyk as weekend recruits. The Arizona Coyotes came in fighting for their playoff lives on a 3-game losing streak. Coyotes get aggressive when they are hungry, the Avalanche would need to be ready.
Here are those moves courtesy of Altitude TV:
The first showed the Yotes would come out swinging as they outshot the Avalanche 8-5 at 8:29 into the period when things got weird. Conor Garland had a goal that wasn’t, turned goal, turned no goal between the call on-ice and two reviews. Garland knuckle-balled one that got between Keaton Middleton and Philipp Grubauer. They then had Nazem Kadri meet them in the crease completely obscuring the puck. No replay out of the dozen or so done by the home broadcast showed anything that was definitive that the puck ever crossed the line. But we will just have to believe Toronto had an angle no one else in the building had. Immediately after you saw how serious Coach Bednar took this game with a quick challenge. Bednar and the Avalanche won the challenge keeping the game deadlocked at 0-0.
The zeroes on the scoreboard lasted less than 4-minutes as Brandon Saad parked his lucky 13th over the glove arm of Ivan Prosvetov off some slick puck movement from Tyson Jost and Samuel Girard. The Avs hit another gear after that overturned goal, but the Coyotes just never stop. They would continue to push the pace and out-shot Colorado 12-9 by the time the period ended. The Yotes also out-hit the Avalanche 15-8, showing a physical edge to boot. Despite this though, the Avalanche had a 1-0 lead going into the first intermission.
Here is a visual representation of the poetry in motion courtesy of the Colorado Avalanche Social Team:
The Coyotes would keep that that 3 shot lead on the Avalanche through 9:08 into the 2nd. And the Avalanche would grow their lead to 2 at that moment when Nathan MacKinnon took the perfect pass from Gabriel Landeskog and put a one-timer past Prosvetov for his 17th goal and 10th point in as many games. That’s the longest current points-streak in the NHL. This was also a power-play goal, that will help the one major bugaboo for this roster earlier in the season has slowly moved in to the top-10 (8th 23.4 PP%). They have ranked in the bottom third of the league in this stat just a little over a week ago. Now if they can keep up the mistake-free hockey (4 penalty kills in the last 5 periods combined).
The Coyotes despite their shot advantage and still outhitting the Avalanche, had given Colorado 4 power plays to their 1 through 2 frames of hockey. It wasn’t for lack of opportunities as the shot count shows, it had a lot more to do with Gru coming back fresh and loose after 5 days of rest. This renewed smooth dominance included a sequence that saw him block a shot, then the rebound attempt, then go full snow-angel to cover the puck and end the play. Then with a 22-15 SOG advantage for the Yotes over the Avs, MacKinnon decided to get Mikko Rantanen in on the fun to make it 3-0 with his 24th, giving him 2nd place in the league over Connor McDavid.
Here is that save by Grubauer courtesy of the Colorado Avalanche Social Team:
The two narratives pushed by most pundits to beat the Avalanche were to find a way to outshoot them, we established Arizona accomplished this through 40 minutes of hockey. The other was to be more physical and hit everything moving, they are a bunch of fast skating pillows they seemed to claim. Well, Arizona did that too, to the tune of out-hitting the Avalanche 21-12. Yet they went into the locker room down 3-0 and looking defeated. This Avalanche team just finds a way to score, it’s almost MacGyver-ish and an absolute joy to watch.
It took 27 shots, but the Coyotes finally snuck one past Grubauer as Oliver Ekman-Larsson bounced the puck off Michael Bunting and in for the rookie Wingers 6th of the season at 10:42. The Coyotes are as relentless as they get, they do nothing flashy, they just keep pounding. That onslaught of goals the Avalanche are used to putting on the competition started to make cracks in their defense and a cruising Gru up to that point. At 13:16 into the period and a 30-17 SOG advantage over the Avs, Johan Larsson put in his 7th of the season after some sloppy puck-handling in the neutral zone caused an odd-man rush for the Yotes.
Here is another example of Gru keeping his team in the lead courtesy of the Colorado Avalanche Social Team:
The Avalanche were forced to sweat that one-goal lead until 18:03 into the period when Mikko Rantanen put in his second of the night and 25th goal of the season to secure his 2nd-place standing on an empty net, full-ice, empty-net goal. We saw the fight in both teams boil over shortly after this as pretty much both rosters hit the ice in a scrum reminiscent of that 70’s hockey grandpa told you about. The last 19 seconds of the game saw two such scrums as tempers boiled over for the second consecutive night that Colorado wraps up a season series against a division rival with a win.
The Avalanche got sloppy in the 3rd both offensively and defensively allowing 37 total shots-on-goal while only getting 19 of their own. Yet they found a way to win, and in a way that somehow felt dominant for the majority, that’s what matters. Can you still find a way to get the 2-points even when you do not have your best game going on the second half of a back-to-back? Now they get a day off before visiting St. Louis and the Blues on Wednesday.
@ St. Louis Blues Wednesday, April 14 at 5:30 PM MST
Where to Watch:
National Broadcast: NBC Sports