Avalanche Pummel Ducks 4-1 in Season Finale

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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.

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Up Next:

Vs Arizona Coyotes Monday, April 12 at 7:00 PM MST

Where To Watch:

Denver Market: Altitude TV

Pheonix Market: Fox Sports Arizona

Avalanche Ground Ducks With 5-2 Beating

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The Avalanche started fast with a 2-1 lead. Then continued to de-feather the Ducks 5-2. Punches were thrown.

The Avalanche were coming off a tough loss to division leader Las Vegas Golden Knights. They looked to right the ship against the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks came in no higher than 25th in any major category, whether offensively or defensively speaking. They are also dead last in the division with only 28 pts, as opposed to the second place Avalanche with 46 points.

The first started well for the Avs as Mikko Rantanen was able to push one across at 2:56 into the period. They were only able to hold that lead until 9:14 into the first when Danton Heinen took a nifty pass through the legs of Devon Toews from Max Comtois. He then backhanded one past the left pad of a confused Philipp Grubauer who lost the puck on the pass, that was his 5th of the year. This game could have easily been 2-1 if not for Gru doing his thing yet again. Outside of the one goal he gave up in the period, he was other-worldly. Like his break-away stoning of Comtois shortly after Mikko’s goal.

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But this Avalanche defense hit another gear after that goal by Heinen. They allowed only 1 shot on goal for the next 20 mins. of game time. Then Grubauer did it again to Comtois with 12:02 left in the 2nd, who came down for this second break-away of the game, Gru just calmly stuck out his left pad and knocked it away on the deke attempt. Keeping it 2-1 after Tyson Jost deposited his 3rd of the year on a one-timer off a blocked shot rebound at 3:59 into the second period.

The offensive pressure continued and broke through for a 3-1 Avalanche lead with Gabriel Landeskog scoring his 12th with assists from Makar (17), and MacKinnon (28th). The Ducks were able to out-hit the Avalanche 8-7 and deadlocked with 9 blocks apiece. Where things got lopsided was when you compared the offenses. The Ducks had a total of 8 shots on goal compared to the 34 by the Avs. And 4 PP’s to the Ducks’ 2.

Look at the table below courtesy of Yahoo! Sports:

There is still a key area of worry for this squad. That is their Power Play %, their 5-on-5 dominance is insane. In their last 10 games, the Avalanche are +25 in Even Strength Goal Differential. A coach is always looking for something to improve, here is a major one for Bednar to preach on. With 5 pairs of skates on the ice, the Avalanche can rock with anyone. When they are on the Penalty Kill, they are 2nd best in the league. But when they have the advantage, somehow their dominance tends to wane. They drop all the way to 13th in PP at 23.1%

The Ducks made it interesting at 3:19 into the 3rd as Troy Terry put his 7th past Gru to make it 3-2. The Avalanche offensive pressure was just too much for Anaheim to handle. Colorado was able to start pulling away when J.T. Compher was able to put his 4th in at 7:26 into the period. Then Valeri Nichushkin sealed the deal on his 8th of the year 2 game minutes later. The Avalanche buried yet another opponent with 48 shots on goal, Anaheim only had 15. The Avs have outshot their last 10 opponents 407-222. This is hockey I and I’m sure most, have never seen before.

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It was also nice to see the Avalanche show even more fight, quite literally. There were several scrums, and 2 official fights. Including a glove-dropper with Bellemare and Nicolas Deslauriers at center ice at 15:07 into the 3rd. You wouldn’t exactly anoint Bellemare a Gold-Gloves contender. But simply standing up to a bigger defender goes a long way in your own locker room. We saw Dan Renouf come to his teammates defense for a second straight game. But it was a completely clean game, as we discussed earlier.

Colorado ended the game 1/6 on the power play. This will bear monitoring, but should not overshadow the pure dominance of this squad when it is 5-on-5. And thanks to wonders of NHL scheduling, we don’t have to wait long before we get to enjoy it again. As they try to keep pace with the Las Vegas Golden Knights who are just 1 point ahead of them.

And in case you missed it, I’ll leave you with all 5 goals courtesy of the Colorado Avalanche Social Team:

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Up Next:

vs Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday, March 31 at 7:30 PM MST

Where to watch:

Denver Market: Altitude TV

Arizona Market: Fox Sports Arizona