The Colorado Avalanche enter and exit a dominate force of nature after (enter score here) thrashing of the Arizona Coyotes.
The first period saw the Arizona Coyotes and their suffocating defense threw their best at the Colorado Avalanche. For the first 14:22 it seemed to be working. For this, almost a quarter-hour of play Arizona tricked many into believing they could hang with the Avalanche. As they were able to keep them pinned in their defensive zone for long stretches. Then when Colorado did make it into their offensive zone, Arizona did a great job of bodying and bullying the Avs around the ice to prevent any scoring opportunities and only 3 shots on goal to that point.
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Then Pierre-Edouard Bellemare took the pass from Matt Calvert and deposited the puck in the net to make it 1-0 for his 3rd of the year. The Coyotes had to believe that this was an ok result after the way Colorado had dominated its last 2 opponents. Well, that was before Mikko Rantanen revisited his favorite corner of the cage as he deposited a wrister above the left shoulder of the goalie to make it 2-0 on just 5 shots on goal just over a minute later. It was Rantanen’s 18th of the season. How frustrating does it have to be to play this team? The Coyotes played an almost perfect period and still ended it down 2-0.
The second period saw the unstoppable force that is the Colorado Avalanche offense continue to press the issue. After drawing blood at the end of the first period. This offensive pressure had the Coyote take the first penalty of the game penalty at 16:14 left in 2nd period. It was a 2-minute minor for holding on Jakob Chychrun that the Coyotes killed. But not without a fight and flurry of pressure from the Avalanche special teams. The hold was a necessary play as Nazem Kadri was about to blow by him for a one-on-one opportunity.
Antti Raanta put forth a Herculean effort stoning shot after shot to begin the 2nd period. Until Nazem Kadri took a huge swipe at a one-timer off the face-off win by Andre Burakovsky. The shot was slightly deflected over Raanta’s right shoulder. This would be the only scoring in the 2nd period, with a huge part of the credit going to Philipp Grubauer. As he stopped all 9 shots sent his way during the period. Gru was yet again the calm within the storm as he made multiple break-away and odd-man saves. These were during the rare lapses in the Colorado discipline that created turnovers for the Coyotes. But every time Philipp was up to the challenge, showing yet again why he is the MVP for Colorado a little over half-way through the season. This man has reached another level within the crease.
The 3rd period was a showing of both team’s defensive and goaltending prowess as Raanta and Gru went back and forth with impressive save after impossible save. Both Defenses pressed hard in their own zone, throwing their bodies around and bullying each other off the puck. This game was a prime example of the difference between a “try hard” team and a talented team. The Arizona Coyotes get by on guile and want-to. The Colorado Avalanche has one of, if not the deepest and most talented rosters in the entire league.
Even emergency call-ups like Jacob MacDonald are playing at a high level. A journeyman defenseman that currently has a season +/- of 6, that is 8th on the team by the way.
Here is the top-10 for the Colorado Avalanche courtesy of Hockey-reference.com:
You also see Devon Toews leading the team in the 5 games he’s been able to play. If this team stays healthy and keeps this same energy. The heights this team from a Mile High can reach is dizzying. You did see Grubauer’s shut-out streak end at 3:38 on Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s 1st goal of the season in his 22nd game. This was the only Power Play goal of the game for either team in 5 tries combined. This drew Arizona within 2 goals at 3-1. For a little more than a minute as Rick Tocchet pulled Raanta after Larsson’s goal anyway. Then Joonas Donskoi stole a goal, his 9th, on a slap-shot by Valeri Nichushkin that doinked off Donskoi and into the empty net. Valeri had to settle for his 6th assist of the season.
Joonas must have felt he needed to legitimize his boxscore with 10.9 seconds left as he goes unassisted for his 2nd goal of the game, and 10th of the season to make the final score 5-1. Thankfully we only have to wait 24-hours until we get tho see this team take the ice again. And they get to show us some more things we have never seen before. The Avalanche improve to 20-18-2. Gru gets to 19-7-1, and the avalanche keeps destroying all in it’s path.
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@ Arizona Coyotes, Tuesday, March 23, 2021 @8:00 PM MST
Where to watch:
Colorado Market: Altitude TV/Altitude Radio 92.5 FM
Arizona Market: Fox Sports Arizona
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