The first 40 seconds of the game saw the Colorado Avalanche down 1-0 against the Golden Knights. Then they buried the Knights in a flurry of goals 5-1.Embed from Getty Images
The Colorado Avalanche came out with an energy not seen since the last time they were in Ball Arena. Unfortunately, the Las Vegas Golden Knights matched that energy and made more of their opportunities in the opening third. Both teams had multiple breakaways with Max Pacioretty the only one able to capitalize with his 17th tucked under the arm of Grubauer :40 into the match.
The Avalanche had ample opportunities with 2 pure breakaways and second-chance opportunities. None better than a wrap-around attempt by Cale Makar at 19:02 into the game that saw Joonas Donskoi put the rebound on goal. Giving the Avalanche 2 shots on goal in 2 seconds. But this was against Marc-Andre Fleury who came in with a 16-6 record, 1.93 GAA, and .931 save %. Fleury was magnificent in the first, effortlessly flicking away and mid-air snatching everything thrown his way. The Avs more than doubled up the Knights 11 to 5 in shots on goal. Yet were down 1-0 after one period of play.Embed from Getty Images
When met with an immovable object, you must go around. That is exactly what Joonas Donskoi did with his 11th of the year at 4:04 that was even more insane than Mikko brushing dirt off Kahkonen’s shoulder. Somehow the man was able to get the perfect bounce on a deflected pass from Sam Girard while pulling a 180-spin right as and right as the puck hit the ice, tucking it under the glove of Fleury with a slap-shot. Sometimes you also need a little luck mixed with insane athleticism.
Then J.T. Compher said “Assists? We need no stinking assists!” as he split the Golden Knight’s defense and deposited his 11th in the back of the cage just inside the left post on a sweet wrist-shot at 9:15 with his 3rd goal. Then at 12:37 in Cale Makar showed his 2-way ability with his 3rd, put right through the 5-hole of Fleury. For as stoic and calm Fleury was in the first, he was just as shaky in the 2nd. The dam was broken, with no stop-gap in sight.
Here is that insane goal by Joonas courtesy of the Colorado Avalanche Social Team:
Gabriel Landeskog then decided to get in on the action with his 11th goal and 480th career point, moving him into sole possession of 8th-place all-time in Avalanche history. Moving him one spot ahead of Alex Tanguay officially, a spot behind teammate MacKinnon (530). The Captain put the exclamation point on a dominant period that saw the Avalanche out-shoot the Golden Knights again 14-4, but them capitalizing to the tune of a 4-1 lead after 2 periods.
Here is that top-10 courtesy of the Colorado Avalanche Social Team:
The 3rd saw the Golden Knights come out with fervor, pressuring the Avs for the first almost 4-minutes of the period. Keeping the Avalanche in their own end for almost that entire time. But the home-team only needs a crack in the defense to capitalize. That is exactly what happened when Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and J.T. Compher found themselves ahead of the defense after a Knights turnover in the neutral zone. After some smooth skating and adept puck handling, Bellemare was able to put it inside the right post for his 4th.
Some more of that good luck came back as a missed off-sides call cost the Golden Knights a goal with 5:33 to go when Jared Bednar challenged the call on what would have been Nicolas Roy’s 2nd goal of the season. That would leave the final score of 5-1. The Avalanche showed why even though they play in the forgotten time-zone, they should not be the forgotten team when discussing Stanley Cup competitors. Both teams are off Friday before a Saturday matinee re-match where Colorado can take sole possession of 1st in the West.
vs Las Vegas Golden Knights, Saturday, March 27 at 1:00 PM MST
Where to watch:
Denver Market: Altitude TV/Altitude Radio 92.5 FM
Las Vegas Market: At&t Rocky Mountain