The Avalanche jumped out to an early lead, Vegas fought back. Entering 3rd tied, they just couldn’t finish falling in OT.Embed from Getty Images
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The Colorado Avalanche got to jump out to an early lead for the first time since the first of back-to-backs against the Coyotes on Monday. As Joonas Donskoi deposited his 12th of the season to continue his hot streak with 3 goals in his last 4. He split 3 Knights defenders with a sweet deke, then deposited the wrister off the crossbar and in. Joonas at this level makes this team scoring deeper than any other. No matter who has the puck, you have to worry about it being deposited in the cage.
The Golden Knights showed why they have been in first place most of the season when they answered at 16:32 into the opening period. Alec Martinez scored his 4th of the season with 6 seconds to go in the Power Play when his shot was deflected by Sam Girard’s stick as he tried to get in the shooting path. The puck then ricocheted off the stick and just over the shoulder of Philipp Grubauer. Both teams had 2 chances at the PP, Vegas was the only team to capitalize. And they did it against the 2nd best penalty kill in the league in the Avalanche.Embed from Getty Images
The game did not stay notched up for long as Devon Toews and Nathan MacKinnon worked their deadly 2-man game and Mack set up Toews beautifully with a perfect pass and Toews put a one-timer past Marc-Andrei Fleury. This was despite the Avs being outshot 12-10. Something that rarely happens, with Gru trying to show the league why he needs to be mentioned when talking about the game’s best goaltenders. Only allowing that trick shot by Martinez past him in the first.
This Colorado Avalanche also showed you they are not soft as after an illegal hit on rookie Bo Byram, vet Dan Renouf was having none of it as he immediately jumped into a fight throwing at least a couple dozen punches before refs broke it up. This team has no fear, whether on offense, defense, or fighting. This team will scrap with anyone, which is why they were able to leave the first with a 2-1 lead.Embed from Getty Images
Las Vegas didn’t waste any time in the 2nd tying things up, they really had much higher energy than we all saw on Thursday. After a flurry of activity in the Avalanche end and some nifty skating by William Carrier to get in position to catch a rebound. He put a one-timer over the stick of Gru for his 2nd at 3:40 into the period. Ryan Reaves also showed why he is a feared defender, littering the ice with Avalanche players every chance he got.
There would be no more scoring in the period. But what you got was treated to 2 evenly matched top-tier teams play elite hockey. You saw the Golden Knights press their size advantage, then Colorado counter with speed and guile. It was an absolute clinic on clean, mistake-proof hockey. You saw Gru looking down point-blank wristers without blinking. Fleury somehow finds every puck, no matter how much traffic is in front of him. You saw Whitecloud and Reaves scattering bodies across the ice. Then you would see Joonas, Girard or MacKinnon put a defender in the spin cycle. It was non-stop action for the final 16 minutes of the period. This is where the greats are made, these types of matchups.Embed from Getty Images
The 3rd period had the league’s 2nd best defense/penalty kill (Avalanche) and the 3rd best (Golden Knights) go head to head and not blink. With 8:32 to go, the Knights had still outshot the Avalanche 29-22. The Avs really didn’t have a chance to get anything going offensively with 2 penalties to kill in that time frame. But after Graves returned to the ice after that second successful penalty kill by Colorado. The pressure began to push the Knights back, the puck just couldn’t find the back of the net for either side. Grubauer and Fluery absolutely refused to let anything past in the final period which ended how it started, tied at 2-2.
Then came overtime, and you got another seeming chaotic stream of scoring opportunities on both sides. Then it all ended when Max Pacioretty’s stick was stronger than Devon Teow’s for his 18th of the year. This may not have ended the way Avalanche fans wanted. But they should not be disappointed. They are now one point back of this Golden Knights squad after taking 3 of 4 points, and they showed they have the ability to be physical with the “big boys” of the division. It was truly the luck of the puck today, and Vegas turned up Aces.
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Vs Anaheim Ducks, Monday, March 29 at 7:00 PM MST
Where to watch:
Denver Market: Altitude TV
Anaheim Market: Fox Sports San Diego