It was a night that the Colorado Avalanche needed to show up in, and show up they did. From puck drop to final horn, the Avs out-played the Minnesota Wild consistently in all areas of the ice (creating shots, limiting scoring chances, and having the better goalie), culminating in a 3-1 victory.
Philipp Grubauer was spectacular in this game, stopping 36 of 37 shots, including a pair of grade-A chances. He was far-and-away the first star of the night. Tyson Barrie, Tyson Jost, and Ian Cole (on the empty net) provided the offense for the Avalanche.
Colin Wilson had a goal of his own, but that was called back on a review. I assume a lot of the discussions in the comments will be around the no-goal. The video and explanation of the play can be found in the recap for anyone wanting a refresher on what happened.
The first period was quite good for the Avalanche, they came out of the gate strong, and drew a tripping penalty on Nick Seeler. On the man advantage, Nathan MacKinnon and Carl Soderberg both had big chances that were parried away by Devan Dubnyk. Despite not scoring, it gave the Avs a lot of momentum coming out of the power play that got rewarded a few minutes later.
Tyson Barrie got the scoring going after an unreal shift from the Soderberg line. They did a great job of moving the puck, creating space, and finding each other for shot attempts. Eventually, after a rebound got recovered, Soderberg set up BArrie for a shot from the point that got past everyone, including Devan Dubnyk.
The Avalanche did a good job of limiting the shots against them, while pushing play offensively. The shift leading up to the Barrie goal, he, Cole, and the Soderberg line combined to create six shot attempts alone. After the first period, Colorado was ahead in 5v5 shot attempts (19-9), shots (7-5), and scoring chances (6-2).
With Rantanen in the box for holding early, the Wild got that goal right back. Ryan Suter took a shot from the point and Zach Parise was able to get away from Patrik Nemeth and Ian Cole long enough to tip the puck in. Fun fact, Mike Trout can afford two of those goals.
Wilson started a rush midway through the period that caused a scrum and a rebound in front of the net. Rantanen and Soderberg were right in the fray, getting jostled around by the Wild defensemen, Wilson was able to get his own rebound and bang home the goal from the puck from the opposite side of the ice. Right after the goal was scored, Bruce Boudreau challenged for goalie interference, which was upheld, and the goal was called back. If you want to see the NHL’s explanation, check out the linked video below.
2-1 (for real, this time)
Wilson got his revenge not long after when he picked up a failed zone entry by the Wild, and tossed a pass up to Tyson Jost for a breakaway. Obviously, he scored, restoring the one-goal lead for the second time. Yeah, I said it.
Later, Matt Calvert fought J.T. Brown. He lost, but it was fun.
It was an exciting period of hockey in a lot of ways. We had two goals, plus one that was disallowed, a fight, some rolling pucks near the post, a massive save from Grubauer, and a 100% increase in shots. At 5v5, the Avalanche were able to continue leading in shot attempts (25-19), shots (14-10), and scoring chances (10-8).
The final period began and the Avalanche were still playing pretty well. They were getting their chances, out-chancing the Wild 5-1 in the first 10 minutes, before a breakdown in the defensive zone led to this save by Philipp Grubauer. This was the second massive save by the teams backup goaltender. Earlier in the season, he wouldn’t make those saves and the team would be trailing instead of leading. In this game, Gruby came to play.
And with two minutes left, the Wild still couldn’t solve Grubauer for a second time, so they pulled Dubnyk for an extra player. Barely 11 seconds after the pull, Cole shot the puck into the back of the net. Avs win!
- First fun fact, Sven Andrighetto and Gabriel Bourque each played less than eight minutes, but when they were on the ice, they didn’t give up a single shot attempt, shot, nothing, while creating three of their own. That’s a very impressive anomaly.
- Second fun fact, this:
- Third fun fact, the Avalanche get a day off before travelling to Dallas to play the Stars in an extremely vital game in the playoff race on Thursday night. After this win, the Avalanche are only two points back of the Arizona Coyotes for the final wild card spot. A win, coupled with a Coyotes regulation loss to the Florida Panthers, would put the Avalanche in a playoff spot for the first time (correct me if I’m wrong) since the loss to Vancouver following the Bye Week.