Already facing a must win situation in Game 3, the Colorado Avalanche needed a special full-team effort to get back in to their series against the Dallas Stars. Although it was a roller coaster of a ride the Avalanche eventually prevailed after a wild third period to grab a 6-4 victory.
A familiar story continued to open this game with Dallas thwarting the Avalanche breakout and then capitalizing on their chances when Tyler Seguin put the Stars on the board at 11:12. The Avalanche looked engaged and turned up the physicality recording 25 hits in the period to go with 12 shots on goal but could not execute well enough to convert on the scoreboard.
The Avalanche had been searching for depth scoring all series and boy did they find it when Nikita Zadorov tied the game just one minute into the second period on a missile from the blue line which beat Dallas netminder Anton Khudobin clean.
Andre Burakovsky added to Colorado’s tally just under four minutes later when he used his own rocket of a shot to grab a very critical lead.
At 11 minutes into the frame Cale Makar made a power move to the net and Gabe Landeskog cleaned up the trash when he put the rebound home for Colorado’s third goal of the game. Colorado then took a 3-1 lead into the second intermission.
With consecutive power plays to open the third period Dallas cut the lead in half from Denis Gurianov at 4:42 and then Dallas tied the game less than five minutes later when old friend Blake Comeau appeared to have changed momentum back to Dallas with the goal. Dallas took a crushing lead with their own face-off goal at 10:47 from Jamie Benn. It looked like another loss in the books for the Avalanche with a 4-3 Dallas score and nine minutes to go.
A Dallas turnover in the neutral zone is all the Avalanche needed to kick start their offense and it was a familiar sight with a give-and-go play between Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen who finished off with a one timer from the right circles at 12:02.
The Nazem Kadri from the first round returned to give the Avalanche a much needed clutch goal two minutes later as he perfectly tipped a point shot to put Colorado ahead for good. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare added an empty net goal to arrive at a 6-4 final for the Avalanche to take Game 3.
Joonas Donskoi was declared unfit to play before the contest and replaced by Logan O’Connor in the lineup. It seemed like Donskoi had been fighting off some sort of ailment in previous games so it was a good time to insert O’Connor in his place to help replace some of the speed and tenacity missing due to Matt Calvert’s absence. O’Connor played just under eight minutes with a little time on the penalty kill and was effective in his role.
Unfortunately the back end is getting thinner after Nikita Zadorov left the game in the second period after absorbing a hit. He returned to sit on the bench in the third period with the team but just like Erik Johnson a couple games prior did not take a shift and offered only moral support. Head coach Jared Bednar did not offer any sort of update on his status after the game. It is especially unfortunate after Zadorov scored a goal and assist before his departure and was playing some of his best hockey.
The story of the season has been the depth that the Avalanche went out and acquired last offseason. It appeared that the depth scoring had dried up at the worst time when they went dry in the first two games of the series. It was great seeing Andre Burakovsky and Nazem Kadri get back on the scoresheet and hopefully get some confidence and momentum again.
The fourth game of the series as the Avalanche look to even it up is on Friday, August 28th at 8pm MT on NBCSN.