It wasn’t great night on the scoreboard for the Colorado Avalanche, but despite the 5-2 defeat at the tails of the San Jose Sharks, at least the Avalanche left the game without any injuries, or suspensions. That, and the friends we made along the way, are the real victories here. So now the playoffs are directly ahead, and first up, the Calgary Flames. We’ll have much more on our playoff opponent in the coming days, but for now, let’s recap the last game of the season.
Playoffs: COUS/TAMAY; TOO/BOON; COLA/WAIN; PITH/NODES (East). COOO/CARY; VEAS/SNOE; DAS/NILE; SIUIS/WING (West).— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 7, 2019
The Avs officially finished the season with a 38-30-14 record, good for 90 points which puts the club eighth in the Western Conference and 17th overall in the league. Captain Nathan MacKinnon scored a goal in this game, but he failed to get a second, which would put him at the century mark in terms of points on the year.
It wasn’t a great night for goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who only stopped 25 of 29 for the loss, but there were a few very unlucky goals he allowed that should hopefully be out of the Russian’s system come Thursday.
Calgary vs Colorado starts Thursday.— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) April 7, 2019
Tyson Jost opened the game with a goal on a shot created from a lucky bounce, which ended up being a bit of a theme in the game. The Avs were stacked three deep up the middle of the ice in the offensive zone when Samuel Girard took a shot from the point. The puck bounced to Jost twice after the initial shot and a shot of his own. On his second attempt, he was successful in beating goaltender Martin Jones low to open the scoring.
A few minutes later, Brent Burns took a shot from the point directly following a faceoff win from underrated star Tomas Hertl and scored. Burns’ shot was fluttering barely a fraction of an inch over the surface of the ice the whole way from the point to the back of the net, and it seemed to cause Varlamov to be late to reacting as he let the puck slide right underneath his pads and stick. Nevertheless, it was a bad goal that I hope Varly never repeats in the playoffs.
Ugh, did it have to be his 30th of the season? Evander Kane got his milestone goal off a bang-in play in front of the net. Kane was able to get inside position on Carl Soderberg and take a few whacks at the loose puck before eventually knocking it in. Again, can’t exactly fault anyone on the Avs for wanting to stop the puck more than Kane wanted to score that goal. There was nothing to play for there.
It was a pretty good period for the Avalanche in the first. At 5v5, they had more shot attempts (23-22), shots (12-10), and scoring chances (11-10), but they were all by a small (almost zero) margin. The team would do well to play less of a high-event game in the playoffs.
Nathan MacKinnon kicked off the second period in style off a faceoff in his own zone that he won. After getting the puck back from Girard and Gabriel Landeskog in the neutral zone, MacKinnon blew past every single person on the ice before going in on Jones and beating him handily with a slick shot. Oh, baby, what a treat this man is going to be in the playoffs. Connor who?
Varlamov suffered from yet another unlucky bounce barely five minutes after MacKinnon tied up the game. Off a rush where the Avalanche had people back, Joe Thornton fed Kevin Labanc for a chance in the heart of the slot. Labanc was forced to make a move to his backhand towards the faceoff dot before flicking a shot on his off hand. The puck deflected off something and got around Varlamov, restoring the one-goal lead for San Jose.
The Avalanche were able to keep things relatively even for the rest of the period following the labanc goal, but no goals to tie the game. They’d to a total loss in 5v5 shot attempts (13-19), shots (9-11), and scoring chances (3-8). The Avalanche took the only period of the period (and game up until that point), a hooking penalty against Tyson Barrie. Despite one scoring chance given up, the group did a good job of not allowing the game to get away form them. Evidently, that would happen in the third.
Early in the third period, Gustav Nyquist scored a a wicked goal from a tight angle, putting the game further out of the grasp of the Avalanche. Varlamov came out the challenge the shot, but he was slightly sideways, opening up the short side of the net for Nyquist. The Swede in his 500th career NHL game made no mistake, ripping the puck into the top corner.
Michael Haley would put the icing on the cake for the Sharks after he got away for an empty-net breakaway following a steal by Burns in the defensive zone. The goal was only the second of the season and 11th of the 33-year-old’s career.
- I laughed a lot at this:
- At least they tried to get Mac the 100th point.
Jared Bednar on if the #Avs we’re trying to get Nathan MacKinnon to 100 points?— Ryan S. Clark (@ryan_s_clark) April 7, 2019
He smiled and said, “Yeah!”
- At least we have this:
Here is a screen cap from an email regarding Tuesday’s draft lottery pic.twitter.com/cE64IzaaMG— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) April 7, 2019
- The regular season. It’s gone. It’s done.