Finally this four-game series, which has spanned three locations, concluded as the Vegas Golden Knights traveled to Denver for the finale against the Colorado Avalanche. Unfortunately the Avalanche saw a rerun of the first game in this meeting as they were shutout once again for a 3-0 defeat.
Right from the get go the battle between these two class of the NHL teams picked up right where it left off. Vegas had control early on but Philipp Grubauer was up to the task. After Vegas failed to convert on a power play the Avalanche forced Marc-Andre Fleury make a couple incredible saves to keep the game scoreless after the first period.
What transpired in the following period was not as evenly matched as Vegas scored three unanswered goals. The first from Alex Tuch on the power play just three minutes into the period on a great rush that eluded all defenders. The second was another from Tuch which deflected off of Bowen Byram’s skate and into the net at 6:14. And finally the third at 11:06 was from Jonathan Marchessault who was left wide open on a bad Avalanche line change. With Fleury playing as well as he had up to this point it was a commanding lead for Vegas.
The Avalanche got a lot more pressure with Vegas holding on to a comfortable lead in the third period and earned their one and only power play. Despite firing 15 shots on goal in the frame alone the home team just could not cash in and left the contest empty handed. Vegas takes home the 3-0 victory and the season series between the two teams rests tied at 2-2 for the time being.
A little bit of everything was to blame in this outcome. Fleury truly earned his second shutout of the Avalanche and it’s hard to fathom that Vegas was looking for anyone to take on his cap hit just a couple months ago. The Avalanche got a bit unlucky with bad bounces against and on the other end couldn’t get a break with one to go in the net for them. And also it just was Avalanche not fighting through checks and defending hard enough at times in order to put themselves in those bad situations. Vegas wasn’t going to go down in the series without a fight and while the Avalanche had some good moments it wasn’t enough for two points.
The power play is another area of concern. While some of the decent chances generated just have not gone in the reality is the Avalanche have not scored on the man advantage in the last six games and in the previous one to that the power play goal was scored by Joonas Donskoi and the second unit all the way back in January while in Minnesota. It is a unit with a lot of firepower that seems to rely on executing the perfect shot, which works on occasion with the talent on hand. The lack of movement and creativity will continue to hold their potential back and cost games when their preferred plays aren’t working.
Rest and energy level may have been part of the issue in this contest but will only get worse from here on out as the Avalanche do not have a scheduled consecutive day off until the first of April. Also with all the players who have returned from injury and COVID-19 related absences they’ve had a tough time finding their groove and gelling as a unit. The team will have to search for some quick answers on how to put forth their best effort going forward.
A new opponent arrives in town for a make-up match against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday, February 24th at 7pm MT.