The Avalanche loaded up before the trade deadline. Then pummel the Ducks 4-1 in the season finale.
The Colorado Avalanche came in ranked in the top-5 in practically every statistical category and the best record in the West (27-9). While the Anaheim Ducks came in ranked in the bottom-5 in those same statistical categories, and the worst record in the West (12-22). The Avalanche has dominated the season series 5-2 coming into the season finale. Including Jonas Johansson’s first career shutout on Friday 2-0. You could see the rivalry spark early and often.
Starting in the 1st period saw Nicolas Deslauriers head-hunting from the opening whistle and boiled over after Andre Burakovsky scored his 12th of the year through the 5-hole of John Gibson. He admitted in between periods that he was trying to go top shelf, and got lucky. Rare admittance by an athlete, and I, personally, am here for it. That goal was scored at 7:46 into the period, by 8:22, Deslauriers found his man in Liam O’Brien. It didn’t work out so well for O’Brien, but it continued to show that this Avalanche team will not back down. Deslauriers got off O’Brien and immediately had words for what I assume was Nazem Kadri whom he has seemed to be hunting for the entire season.
Brennan Klak with the great illustration of why this Colorado Avalanche team is so hard to beat:
The Avalanche would continue their burying of the opposition, out-shooting the Ducks 15-7. With Johansson picked up where he left off and leading the Avalanche to a 1-0 first period lead. Plenty of credit needs to go to an Avs defense that had 11 hits and 6 blocked shots as well.
The 2nd period saw both team’s goalies and defenses match each other tit for tat. Until just over 6 minutes into the period, the Ducks had the PP advantage at 1-0. Then the Avalanche managed to draw a 5-on-3 for one minute during their first power play of the game. They were 0-4 in 5-on-3 chances coming in to this game. That would change as Gabriel Landeskog deposited his 16th on a one-timer past Gibson giving the Avalanche a 2-0 lead at 6:35 in.
Despite those 2 goals given up by John Gibson, there is no doubt the kid (he’s 27) has some skills after facing 27 shots in 40 minutes of hockey. Johansson ran his scoreless streak to 5 periods, and a defense that dished out 13 hits while absorbing 8 shots. They also had 4 takeaways to Anaheim’s 2. The Avalanche onslaught was just too much for the Ducks through 2 periods and had the Avalanche up 2-0. If not for Gibson and his many highlight-reel saves, it could have been much worse. He did what you want your goalie to do against a top team, give you a shot in the 3rd.
Here is an example of how the Gibson kept the Ducks close courtesy of the Anaheim Ducks Social Team:
Unfortunately for Gibson, or fortunately for Colorado. This was not good enough for the Ducks, even though they put a scare into the division leaders while snapping Johansson’s scoreless streak at 12:37 into the period Jamie Drysdale doinked one home off Cale Makar’s backside for his 2nd of the season drawing to within 2-1. That scare would be short-lived as Ryan Graves double-doinked his 1st of the season home less than 2 minutes later.
Gravy decided whatever Drysdale could do he could do better. Courtesy of the Colorado Avalanche Social Team:
Cale Makar would make up for his earlier unintentional assist for the Ducks, with his 24th intentional assist for the Avalanche. He somehow thread the needle through a veritable sea of hockey sticks and human limbs to find Nathan MacKinnon who tapped in his 16th goal of the season. This was the final nail in the coffin for the Ducks and ensured Colorado leaving the game with 2 points. This puts them at 60 points on the season, leaving them at least for a few hours on top of the NHL mountain and the first team to reach this mark. Saving Colorado sports fans from anymore heartbreak.
This is a feat even the NHL PR staff couldn’t help but acknowledge:
If this Avalanche team can continue to play this type of practically mistake-free hockey (3 turnovers, 3 PPA). And they can continue to show the league they fear no one, no matter the result of the fight. This Avalanche team will not back down. I believe the moves made over the weekend to shore up the depth of the defensemen and goaltending will prove prescient as we inch closer to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Colorado faithful should be excited for what they get to watch on the ice no matter when they may start.
Vs Arizona Coyotes Monday, April 12 at 7:00 PM MST
Where To Watch:
Denver Market: Altitude TV
Pheonix Market: Fox Sports Arizona