The Avalanche had good jump early in this one, as Cale Makar jumped on the puck and dashed in for a scoring chance. He was stopped by Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko and promptly buried by giant defenseman Tyler Myers, but appeared no worse for the wear.
Ryan Graves took a penalty early on which led to a couple of good scoring chances for Vancouver. Luckily, Antoine Bibeau was sharp in net, and kept the game scoreless. Graves then had a chance to score after coming out of the penalty box, set up by a spinning Nathan Mackinnon, but was interfered with.
Chris Tanev would head to the penalty box and the Avs got a good start on the powerplay. Mackinnon fired a rocket off of the post, but the Canucks went down the other way and nearly scored shorthanded. Then, Myers buried J.T. Compher and headed to the box, which gave the Avalanche a 56-second 5-on-3.
Although the Canucks would kill off both penalties, it didn’t take long afterwards for Colorado to strike. With traffic forming in front of Demko, Erik Johnson’s point shot was tipped by Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in the slot to give the Avalanche a 1-0 lead.
Demko made a couple of tremendous saves after that to keep the game close, including robbing Joonas Donskoi on the doorstep with the left pad. The momentum shifted towards Vancouver, and Josh Leivo walked around Ian Cole to get in alone. Bibeau made the save, but the Canucks continued to circle and Matt Calvert took a holding the stick penalty.
The Avs would kill off the Calvert penalty, and the game seemed to settle down after that. There was a lot of back and forth action, and Colorado was doing a better job of getting in on the forecheck and spending more time in the offensive zone.
Vancouver came in on a 2-on-1 that resulted in Graves taking his second penalty of the period, in an effort to take a goal away from Tim Schaller. He wasn’t in the box long, as Adam Gaudette tied the game with a one-timer in the slot. It was a great feed from Leivo at the half-wall, who walked right by Matt Nieto to enter the zone. Compher left Gaudette alone in the slot, which left him wide-open to receive the pass.
The goal gave the Canucks oxygen late in the period, but the Avalanche fended off their attack and headed into the first intermission tied 1-1.
To start the second, there were back-and-forth chances for both teams, but the Canucks dominated the play early. Leivo came in on a 2-on-1 that missed the net, followed by Sven Baertschi doing the same, but in tight on Bibeau.
With the Canucks circling, a point shot hit Nieto up high and almost bounced into the net. Bibeau spun around in the crease and covered up the puck before it crossed the line. Then, Edler’s shot was tipped by Horvat in the slot and stopped by Bibeau. Vancouver was getting a lot of chances to take the lead, and the Avs were a little passive to start the period.
Then, the tide began to turn. Nazem Kadri was hit in the face with a high stick from Baertschi, and the Avs were heading to the powerplay for the third time. Mackinnon’s first one-timer missed the net, but he made no mistake on his second opportunity. Makar fed Mackinnon for his 12th goal of the season (and sixth power play goal), and Colorado took a 2-1 lead.
The Avalanche followed the goal up with excellent offensive zone pressure, and the Canucks struggled to clear the puck. Mackinnon was flying after his goal, but the Canucks pushed back. Colorado became a bit sloppy, with turnovers and missed passes forcing them to be hemmed in their own end for several minutes.
Then, Makar sent Kadri in alone with a beautiful pass through the neutral zone. Kadri walked in clean and beat Demko with a wicked wrist shot short side, and the Avalanche extended their lead to 3-1.
After that, the Canucks took a penalty, and the Avs continued to press. Kadri slipped through both Vancouver’s defensemen and was robbed by Demko’s pad. Seconds after, he would take a penalty on Troy Stecher for hooking, giving the Canucks another opportunity to get back into the game.
Fortunately, it was a textbook kill by the Avalanche. The Canucks did get some scoring chances, but Bibeau stood his ground. As the penalty ended and the Avs attempted to exit the zone, Gaudette tripped up Kadri, sending Colorado to the power play. They wouldn’t score on it, although Makar made a great play to tip the puck out of harm’s way when the Canucks came in on a shorthanded 2-on-1.
With 1:08 left in the second, Ian Cole took an interference penalty on Tanner Pearson. It looked as though the Avs would escape into the intermission with their two-goal lead, but Gaudette beat Bibeau with 1.5 seconds left in the period. It was a fairly similar goal to his first powerplay marker, but the one-timer came from the hash marks and beat Bibeau top shelf.
The third period, like the other two, contained more penalties. Zadorov took a bad tripping penalty after hitting Pearson’s skates, which put Vancouver on their sixth power play of the night. Bibeau made several good saves on the penalty kill.
The Avalanche killed off the penalty and Donskoi fired a puck off the post. Riding that momentum, Mackinnon and Makar continued to work their magic together. Mackinnon sent the perfect pass to Andre Burakovsky alone in front of the net, and he made no mistake, burying the puck past Demko to restore the Avs two goal lead.
The 4-2 goal was critical, because the Canucks had been all over the Avalanche to that point in the period — and Colorado turned it around in one shift. But the Canucks wouldn’t be deterred, as they fired anything and everything towards Bibeau.
The game opened up after that, and what had been a tight checking game in the second period was completely abandoned in the third. The Canucks pushed hard for goals, and they got some good chances. Colorado was guilty of being a little too passive on Vancouver rushes, and it could have been costly for them.
A Sam Girard turnover lead to a scoring chance. Then, Petterson drew a penalty, and on the delayed call, took a penalty himself. We got some 4-on-4 hockey, but nothing would come of it. Down two goals, Vancouver pulled Demko with over three and a half minutes to go in the third, and they would be rewarded for it.
Alex Edler scored to bring Vancouver within a goal. But before the goal was scored, Petterson took a shot that ricocheted off Matt Calvert’s head. He spent the remainder of the shift until Edler’s goal down on the ice. He tried to get up once, but was not in good shape. After the goal had been scored, the trainer immediately hopped over the bench to tend to him. Calvert was helped off the ice, but was bleeding from behind the ear as he went down the tunnel. The play couldn’t have been blown dead until the Avs regained puck possession, but regardless, we hope that Calvert is all right. Seems like the Avs can’t catch a break with injuries lately.
Momentum on their side, Brock Boeser ties the game with exactly one minute to go in the game. Although J.T. Miller nearly beat Bibeau with seconds to go to win it late for the Canucks, regulation ended with both teams knotted at four goals apiece, and the game headed to overtime.
NATHAN MACKINNON. OVERTIME WINNER. VINDICATION FOR MATT CALVERT.
- Colorado had a good bounce back game after being thrashed by the Connor McDavid Oilers in their last game. They were relentless on forechecks for a lot of the game and weren’t slowed down on the rush at all.
- The amount of penalties called in this game was actually absurd. The Canucks had six powerplays, the Avalanche had five. The special teams really got a workout tonight — and the Avs have to be better at staying disciplined. They were lucky that Vancouver only scored twice on the man-advantage.
- Elliotte Friedman tweeted out the NHL rule regarding the Calvert injury. Regardless of how everyone might feel about the rule, all we hope for is that Calvert is all right.
- Antoine Bibeau kept the Avs in this game when the Canucks were pressing. The game probably would have been tied way sooner had he not come up with several big saves in the early parts of the third.
- And finally, please, never split up Makar (four assists) and Mackinnon (three points). They are magical together.