Michael Hutchinson gave up a rough goal early to Miro Heiskanen, putting the Colorado Avalanche down in the first period. But credit where it’s due, it was all he allowed for the rest of the night and the Avs scored three straight, plus an empty net goal to win Game 6 and force a Game 7 on Friday night. Winner goes to the Western Conference Finals.
The Avalanche may have lost Gabriel Landeskog to a knee injury in the second period. It appeared a skate cut his leg at the knee, the Captain tried to return in the third but he only managed a 16 second shift before sitting out the rest of the game.
Both of his linemates, Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon scored for the Avs, with Nikita Zadorov scoring the team’s first goal and Cale Makar getting the game winner. Hutchinson stopped 27 of 28 for the win.
The Avalanche got two power plays in the first period, a four-minute minor and a two-minute minor almost back to back. Andre Burakovsky had the biggest chance of the 10 shot attempts the team were able to put on Anton Khudobin during those six minutes. He had a one-timer from the right faceoff dot that he didn’t get a perfect connection on and it bounced off Khudobin’s pad. It was a good chance, the Avs had a lot of zone time, they just couldn’t get to the middle of the ice.
Hutchinson made a really great desperation save on Radek Faksa on a rebound while everyone else on the ice were on the other side of the net. It was a tough rebound to give up, though it was a shot coming through traffic, but one that Hutchinson made right with his tremendous save.
Aaaaand then he gave up a pretty bad goal from Miro Heiskanen. Granted, the shot was disguised by MacKinnon’s stick at the release point. Hutchinson looked like he reacted to the puck and almost gave up when his brain realized before his body that the puck was going somewhere else. That said, I don’t want to be too light on Hutchinson because the goal looked really bad. Plus, giving up the first goal to Dallas is usually never a good idea.
Nikita Zadorov tied the game with a point shot with about 30 seconds left in the first. Vladislav Namestnikov retrieved the puck in the corner and sent it to Zadorov for a shot with JT Compher in front. It looked like Compher was pushed into Khudobin on the replay by Jamie Oleksiak, and after a review it was determined that the goal was legal.
The Avs were really lucky to get the goal at the end of the first because they were definitely the second best team in the period. It’s good to know MacKinnon agreed after the game. Shot attempts were close (18-20), but the Avs were down by a significant amount in shots on goal (6-13), and scoring chances (7-9). The Stars blocked about half of Colorado’s attempts.
Nathan MacKinnon says the #Avs were "dog shit" in the first period but managed to turn around en route to the win.— Ryan S. Clark (@ryan_s_clark) September 3, 2020
Conor Timmins was forced to leave the game after his second shift in the second period after getting a hard hit from Andrew Cogliano. Timmins was hit in the upper back/neck/head area, which is terrifying considering his injury past. Timmins has been playing really well in the playoffs and his injury (yet another for the defense) is just a punch to the gut. Timmins didn’t return to the game.
Makar brought the Avs to the front after a second period of attrition for the most part. With about five players lined up between Samuel Girard and Khudobin in net, it’s not a surprise the puck got blocked. Luckily, Rantanen collected the rebound and set the puck up for Makar to come bursting in for a laser beam that found the back of the net. It was a great reactionary play from both of them after a really dangerous shift.
I found this funny. Corey Perry got called for holding on Nazem Kadri with the easiest call any ref can make.
And then we get to the Landeskog injury. I looks like his knee was sliced by the skate of a falling Andre Burakovsky. A really unlucky play, it looked like Landeskog’s knee was bleeding instantly as he fell to the ice and had to hobble off the ice.
More on the Landeskog injury. Watch the video from Sportsnet’s intermission. Kevin Bieksa speaks about where players wear kevlar on their bodies and where they don’t. Spoiler alert, kevlar over the knees is not popular among players.
Landeskog returned for a 16 second shift but left the ice again after seemingly not liking what he felt. It looked like his knee was closed up, but perhaps there was more damage there than we can see. He didn’t return to the game after the test shift.
Rantanen extended the team’s lead off an unbelievable passing play from MacKinnon. I’m still so astonished at MacKinnon’s precision when it comes to saucer passes. He can get them so high and down so quickly at the perfect time my jaw drops every time he makes that play.
The Avs didn’t have an overly dangerous final stretch. Hutchinson never looked overly stressed or had to make any major second or third saves. No big rebounds, things you want to see in a goalie. Swallowing pucks and no rebounds falling left and right are indicators the goalie is seeing the puck well, moving well, and the defense is moving bodies away from high traffic areas.
The boys in front of him were also making some really helpful blocks.
MacKinnon sealed the deal with a shot from his own blueline after a really good defensive play from Valeri Nichushkin and Matt Nieto stealing the puck from the Dallas player.
- Game 7!!!
- Tyson Jost played less than nine minutes in this game, only Timmins played less and he was out for half the game. I wonder if we see a lineup change for Game 7.
- I hope we get Timmins back. I hope we get Landeskog back. And I hope Hutchinson can make it three in a row.