The Colorado Avalanche lost their final home game to the Minnesota Wild in fitting fashion. This game contained a little bit of everything from soft goals against, to exciting goals for, a fight, a controversial call and everything in between. Just like this season as a whole, disappointment was the final note but the journey was typical of the effort as of late and at least provided some entertainment.
Hopes that the Avs would continue to bring momentum from their exciting overtime victory against Chicago was short lived as Calvin Pickard hesitated while trying to play the puck behind the net and ended up giving Jason Zucker a wide open net to shoot at just ten seconds into the game. Nate Prosser would then add another at 14:09 in the period after some questionable coverage in front of Pickard as the Avs found themselves in a two goal deficit just like that.
The youth movement Avalanche didn't pack it in after a less than ideal opening period and found momentum off of Tyson Jost’s first NHL goal at 5:44 in the second. Jost took a nice cross ice feed from Gabe Landeskog tipped by Rocco Grimaldi and fired a laser of a shot short side top corner on Devan Dubnyk all the while navigating a broken stick cluttering the ice right where the puck fell. It was just what the Avs needed to get back in the game and even the emotional and proud Grandpa Jost was in attendance to witness the moment. Erik Johnson added a fight with Ryan White for good measure to keep the momentum up. Francois Beauchemin, yes the old man, tied the game at 14:55 with Rene Bourque providing the screen and earned Sven Andrighetto yet another point in an Avs uniform, bringing him to a total of 13 in 17 games.
Things quickly deteriorated in the third period as the typical Avs of old showed up and gave up two quick goals to Nino Niederreiter at 6:43 and Mikael Granlund at 10:00, the latter of which was another laugher on Pickard as the puck deflected off of the top of his glove and into the net. But this time a second set back wasn't enough of a reason to stop fighting and the Avs mounted yet another comeback as Matt Nieto found the back of the net at 14:20. Then on a late power play, the third drawn by Grimaldi, gave the Avs a 6 on 4 advantage with Pickard on the bench and with about a minute left Andrighetto scored the equalizer. The refs quickly waived the goal off, seemingly to invoke the asinine intent to blow the whistle rule but after looking at video it was determined this wasn't possible to prevent the goal for some reason and good goal was ruled. However Minnesota wasn't going to allow simple joys in the hearts of Avs fans and then challenged the goal for goaltender interference, which they won and the no goal which was ruled a goal became no goal again. The magic had run out and the game was over with just 120 minutes remaining until this season mercifully ends.
As this was the last game played in front of the home crowd, the annual tradition of the jerseys off their backs were presented from the players to the fans immediately following the conclusion of the game. It was tough not to wonder what the team and organization is going to look like the next time they convene at the Pepsi Center. This moment of reflection definitely did not look lost on Matt Duchene as he was seen looking up at the home crowd and taking in what might have been his final game in Colorado as a member of the Avalanche. He even said “If this is my final home game, I enjoyed every second of it. It was a dream come true to play for the Avs”. At that moment the Altitude cameras panned to Jost giving away his jersey to an excited and smiling fan as they took a selfie together. It wasn't hard to put the pieces together and see that the “"younger and faster” newest Avalanche era has already begun, with or without Matt Duchene.