The Avalanche concluded their season-long nine game home stand with a dominant 6-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild. While not as dominant offensively as they were on Thursday night, the Avs continued to work their magic on one of their biggest rivals.
This game was a lot more even, even though the scoreline suggests otherwise. The Minnesota Wild put 31 shots on Phillip Grubauer, the first time he’s faced 30+ shots in 19 games. Nonetheless, Grubauer stood tall when he needed to and continues to show the defensive prowess the Avalanche have on their side this season.
Unlike Thursday night’s matchup, it was a lot more even coming out of the gate. The Avs were not stomping all over Minnesota, but a power play chance was converted when Cale Makar wristed one from the point through traffic, off the post and into the net for a 1-0 lead.
After this first goal, the Avs started piling the pressure on even more, creating numerous more chances than the Wild. This lead to Gabriel Landeskog getting what we’ll call a flukey goal after just flipping it over the shoulder of Kaapo Kahkonen to give the Avs a 2-0 lead.
The Avs were really turning it on, creating chances and very easily could have made it 3-0 if it weren’t for Mikko Rantanen missing a wraparound chance out front from Nathan MacKinnon. Jacob MacDonald played his part as well, sprawling out to make a goal-line save on a penalty kill to keep the donut on the board for the Wild going into the break.
Right out of the gate, Rantanen scored just 46 seconds in to give the Avs a 3-0 lead, with an assist from Phillip Grubauer of all people on the ice. Just a minute later, Tyson Jost would add one of his own to make it 4-0, certainly creating a hot start to the period for the Avs.
There was almost a fifth just a few minutes later when Makar rang one off the bar after a beautiful spin-o-rama set up by MacKinnon. Minnesota just could not get anything going moving forward, giving Grubauer little to sweat about.
The Avs would score a fifth when MacKinnon flew in and set one up perfectly for Devon Toews in front of the net to make it 5-0 with 1:13 left in the period. This game looked comfortably set for the Avs as they went into the break.
After killing off an early power play for the Wild, the Avalanche continued to dominate offensively. This included Valeri Nichushkin rumbling into the zone around the D-men for the Wild, backhanding it home to increase the Avs lead to 6-0.
The Wild had their chances this afternoon, putting up 31 shots on Phillip Grubauer who was never significantly challenged. It’s the first time in 19 games that the Avs have given up 30+ shots. After killing off a late penalty by Bowen Byram, the Avs cruised to victory 6-0, shutting out the Wild.
The Avalanche, back to nearly full strength, are extremely dangerous. If this series against the Wild hasn’t stated this already, who knows what will. The Wild are a threat this season, and the Avs have most certainly put them down in the pecking order of playoff and cup contenders.
With this strong offensive surge by the Avalanche, there were six different goal scorers today. Every line was getting involved in the play, and shows the true depth of offensive scoring the Avs have built up to now. While not every line earned a point today, it has to excite Avs fans going forward.
Rantanen continues to just dominate teams offensively. He scored his 17th goal of the season, leading the team this season. In this shortened season, any offense that the Avs can get is worthy of notice, especially for how strong Rantanen has been. There is only more hope that he can continue this run he’s on this season and carry it into the playoffs.
The Avalanche will travel out of Colorado for the first time in two weeks away from Ball Arena to Arizona for a back-to-back series with the Coyotes on Monday and Tuesday. Puck drop is set for 8 PM MT.