After a hard fought game with the reigning Stanley Cup Champion, it looked as though overtime was all but certain for the Colorado Avalanche in their first game of the NHL’s seeding round robin. That is until Nazem Kadri put the puck past St. Louis Blues netminder Jordan Binnington to score the latest goal in NHL postseason history.
Kadri sold the goal as if he knew for certain it had beat the buzzer. The Avalanche broadcast wasn’t so certain as color commentator Peter McNabb would repeat “I don’t know” over and over.
After a review in the NHL’s situation room, it was concluded that the puck crossed the goal line with 0.1 seconds left on the clock allowing the Avalanche to escape with a 2-1 victory in their first meaningful game since March.
The goal made headlines around the hockey world because of the sheer absurdity of how close it came to buzzer. In reality, what the goal did was show everyone what the Avalanche power play can do when it’s working properly.
With Alex Steen in the penalty box for the Blues, Jared Bednar went straight to his top power play unit - despite the fact that most of them had been on the ice for the majority of the previous two minutes.
With Kadri in the bumper position, Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar went to work. The Avalanche went the entire power play without giving up possession of the puck for even a second.
After working the puck below the goal line, the Avs were able to get their Plan A scoring chance with 40 seconds remaining in the game as Makar fed a perfect pass to MacKinnon who was wide open on the faceoff dot for a one-timer. Binnington read the play well and was in perfect position to make the save but the Avs were able to pick up the rebound.
That started the full-on press.
A mere 20 seconds later, the Avalanche generated a perfect attempt at their Plan B when the puck was worked down low to Rantanen at the side of the net. Mikko made a perfect pass to the slot only to have Kadri rip a shot wide of the net with 27 seconds remaining in the game. The puck ricocheted right to Landeskog who moved the puck quickly to Makar, setting up another MacKinnon one-timer that went wide. Four seconds later, the Avs worked the puck back around for a quick point shot from Makar that almost found its way into the Blues net.
Then with the clock nearing zero, it was time to take whatever shot was availible. After a MacKinnon miss found its way to Landeskog’s stick, he threw the puck on the net with 2 second left hoping to get lucky. He almost did as the puck beat Binnington but rang off the post. The belated luck did come good as the puck bounced right to the stick of Kadri at the top of the crease.
Everyone else has seen the rest.
All five Avalanche players on the ice had at least one high-end scoring chance during the power play and it’s the exact dominance we knew would be possible as soon as the team’s PP1 unit was all healthy at the same time. The top power play is working together for the first time all season and this goal accentuates why the rest of the Western Conference should be worried.
Not only was it an exciting moment to kick off the 2020 postseason but it created one of the best hockey images you’ll ever see.