After the big win against the Vegas Golden Knights there was still business to take care of for the Colorado Avalanche with two regular season games remaining. And that’s exactly what happened in a completely lopsided 6-0 Avalanche victory.
To say the Avalanche came out and dominated would be an understatement. They held the Kings to just three shots on goal which were generated at the end of the period. It took until 14:43 for the Avalanche to get on the board but it was only a matter of time. On their second power play Joonas Donskoi pounced on a rebound off of an Andre Burakovsky shot and put up the first goal on the board.
It didn’t take long for Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to add the second Avalanche goal at 16:02 on a typical fourth line type net front scramble. And finally at 19:15, JT Compher corralled and then rifled a gorgeous pass from Mikko Rantanen, who had needed some brief attention from a trainer for a hand or arm issue. It was 3-0 Avalanche after one and they didn’t look back.
Compher, certainly enjoying his best game of the decade, kept it going early in the second just over four minutes in as he was the beneficiary of a great Devon Toews pass to leave him a wide open look right at the net front. Gabe Landeskog added a fifth goal on a backhand shot at 10:03 for good measure to keep the rout going.
After a couple more shifts looking like kittens toying with the puck in the Kings offensive zone it was Compher who completed his first career hat trick at 11:47, after he and Val Nichushkin wrecked havoc around Kings netminder Cal Peterson. The score was 6-0 after two periods and the game wasn’t as close as that score indicated.
The game was long over but the Avalanche got a bit sloppy in the third period. It didn’t matter as the Kings could never convert on any of those mistakes. It appeared Landeskog scored on an unworldly pass from Rantanen when the puck popped behind Peterson straight out of midair but the hockey gods were as ready for this one to end as everyone else. The final score held at 6-0 for Philipp Grubauer’s seventh shutout of the season.
The Avalanche clinched at least the second seed in the west with the win and currently sit at 80 points but Vegas won their final regular season contest 6-0 as well so the Avalanche still need two more points for a tie at 82 points and to win the Presidents’ Trophy,
Jared Bednar kept his stars on the ice long into this game and I wouldn’t expect much different in tomorrow’s rematch. Perhaps sending a message after their uninspiring yet victorious performance in Vegas. Despite a dominant effort in this one the Avalanche will need one more good performance to get the job done.
Sam Girard made his return after a six-game absence and his dynamic puck moving ability made an immediate difference. He played just over 19 minutes, contributed three shots on goal and picked up as assist on his 23rd birthday.
The final game of the regular season against the LA Kings on Thursday, May 13th at 7pm MT.