Avs Survive a 4-3 OT Shootout Thriller Against Arizona

Last night was simultaneously thrilling, captivating, but ultimately frustrating. Yes, the Avs won and the saying stands, "there are no style points in hockey". We can drop other cliches to describe the Avs play…the NHL is a results oriented business, a win is a win, blah blah blah.

The fact it took overtime and a shootout on home ice to beat an admittedly scrappy Coyotes team that might be the worst collection of talent in the NHL is concerning. The Avs should’ve buried the Coyotes under an…wait for it..wait…avalanche of goals. Hah, that was dash clever. BEAR WITNESS TO MY GENIUS INFIDELS!

This was an Arizona squad that featured one guy with All-Star potential, Clayton Keller, and maybe Phil Kessel. So a win was a foregone conclusion, right? That was the conventional wisdom going into this home/away back-to back nights against a team that has whimpered to a record of 8-23-3. Then the puck dropped and all that flew out the window.

The Avs jumped to a 2-0 lead on goals by Mikko Rantanen and Tyson Jost. Then they kinda fell asleep and let Arizona claw their way back into the game with goals by Keller, Johan Larsson, and a shorthanded effort from Shayne Gostisbehere that looked like a potential back breaker. Thankfully for the Avs, Burakovsky scored 30 seconds later to knot the score at 3-3.

Then overtime came and what we saw was epic, back and forth breathtaking hockey featuring more counts of goalie grand larceny than could scarcely be believed. Both Pavel Francouz and Ivan Prosvetov stood up large and robbed multiple scoring chances. Nazem Kadri won the shootout and the Avs escaped with a win.

But all is not rosy, not by a long way.

For perhaps the first time all year, Devon Toews stood out for largely negative reasons. The Keller goal was about Toews lackadaisical puck handling as he flubbed a pass from Girard that Keller gobbled up. Toews then gets outskated a skosh and decides to play Keller instead of the puck, a definite no-no in that situation. Toews momentary lapse of reason allowed Keller to net a shorthanded goal that breathed life into Arizona. You could also make the argument that Toews borderline shitty marking allowed Larsson to shoot from the faceoff circle and score an easy goal. Toews clearly over skated and got caught out of position. During the waning seconds of that 5 on 3 PP for the Yotes, Toews let Gostisbehere dance in and get a point-blank shot that Francouz saved. He did have two assists but he just looked off last night, an uncharacteristically bad performance for one of the best defensemen in the NHL.

The Avs special teams continue to be an issue. While the PK went 3-0, the PP was utterly ineffective. They fell back into bad habits of too many passes and not enough shots. Even Cale Makar had trouble putting the puck on net with his normally surgical snipes from the point. Nate MacKinnon spooned multiple one timers either wide of goal or sent them skying over the net. The puck movement was far too predictable and any cohesion was all but forgotten. There were no bodies in font of Prosvetov whatsoever, inexcusable when you have guys like Rantanen, Burakovsky, and Nichushkin. As a unit, the powerplay was awful.

We must accept the fact the Avs goaltending might be their Achilles heal come playoff time. At times Francouz looked spectacular last night but he also let in that fluttering one hander from Keller. You could make the argument the Larsson goal should’ve been stoned without mercy. Francouz did stymie the Coyotes in OT and during the shootout so it’ll be interesting to see what Kuemper does against his old team in Phoenix.

While it’s laughable that Kadri wasn’t named to the 2022 All Star Game, an equally egregious snub was Mikko Rantanen. All this guy does is produce scoring chances for himself and his mates. But he does it in almost unnerving obscurity. Rantanen isn’t flashy, except his ridiculous helpers against Toronto. As an old Denver native, Mikko reminds me of Denver Nuggets icon Alex English. Back then, you heard English mentioned during intros but he rarely made splashy plays. He just churns out production with absurd ease and you look up at the scoreboard after the game and see 35 points next to his name. That’s Rantanen to a T. And I absolutely love seeing him play with passion. My favorite Rantanen moment was the Panthers game in the Pepsi Center…the play clock struck zero, Mikko comes roaring out of the sin bin and starts a scrum with MacKenzie Weegar and the entire on ice crew from Florida. Loved seeing Rantanen break his stick over his knee a few weeks ago. You shouldn’t mess with Mikko, the kid’s an absolute beast. is a fan community, allowing members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Colorado Avalanche and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editors of