Following their 3-0 win in game one the Colorado Avalanche were looking to keep momentum going against the Arizona Coyotes in game two to begin a matinee back-to-back. The Avalanche had to fight through a lot more push back from Arizona in this contest but yet stayed patient for Andre Burakovsky to make the difference late in a 3-2 final.
Arizona came with a much more concerted effort to begin the game but Nathan MacKinnon finally got his first shot on goal in the series and it was a beauty going right post and in to get the Avalanche on the board at 3:40.
Just after a failed Colorado power play the Coyotes rode another wave of momentum and finally converted their first goal of the series at 16:49 courtesy of Clayton Keller whose shot leaked through netminder Philipp Grubauer and the Avalanche could not corral the loose puck. The first period ended with a 1-1 tie.
Again the Avalanche found paydirt just over three minutes into the second frame, this time from Tyson Jost who dressed in his first game since the St. Louis round robin match for Joonas Donskoi who was surprisingly deemed unfit to play. Jost made a fantastic tip play on a Cale Makar point shot to put the second score on the board.
But that lead would not last long again as some confusion in the defensive zone resulted in Michael Grabner lifted another puck past Grubauer a little more than a minute later.
The rest of the second period was played as the Avalanche tried to white-knuckle their way through multiple penalties and miscues but yet still finished 2-2 on the board when time expired.
Finally in the third period the Avalanche got back to their game despite another unsightly power play. They worked through the Arizona pressure and tight checking to create some chances and then the dam suddenly broke. Andre Burakovsky pounced on a rebound off of a Nazem Kadri shot and deposited the puck into the open net with under three minutes left into the game.
That was all the Avalanche needed to take the game 3-2 and now a 2-0 series lead.
It wasn’t Colorado’s best effort and credit to Arizona for playing a much more assertive game which saw them on top of the final shot tally 32-28. But what matters on the scoreboard is goals and the Avalanche were just one better after getting through a hectic second period in order to find the difference maker. Also kudos to Burakovsky for finding a way to contribute after getting moved off of the top line and thus seeing his ice time decrease significantly.
Same story for Tyson Jost who hadn’t played in nearly two weeks and was a scratch for the first time in his NHL career but was ready to make an impact. Not only did he score but led the team in with a 75% Corsi For and added three shots on goal in just over ten minutes of ice time. Jost added some missing energy to the group which was missing for most of the game and will need to continue during the back-to-back.
In addition to Donskoi’s absence Vladislav Namestnikov left the game near the end of the second period soon after an awkward tumble with MacKinnon. Head coach Jared Bednar predictably didn’t have much to offer as an update on either after the game saying only “unfit” and “day-to-day”. Considering the tight schedule and game tomorrow it’s possible the Avalanche will need to dip into their reserve players.
The aforementioned back-to-back continues with the Avalanche “visiting” the Coyotes for a 1pm MT puck drop to commence game three.