The Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights battled for the final time in the regular season. With the scoring coming in the first and last period of the game, it was the Avs in the third that made the difference in the 3-2 win Saturday night.
Playing in their second back-to-back in a matter of ten days with the second game being in Vegas, the Avs answered the call both times. Despite certainly not playing their best game, they just continue to find ways to win both at home and on the road as of late. They’re now streaking again, having won three straight and looking to make it more.
Vegas was motivated early, looking to take out their anger from Arizona on the Avs. They would capitalize early as Chandler Stephenson scored on the breakaway for the lead.
However, the Avs would get right back at it when Keegan Kolesar sat for hooking. As the power play expired, Andre Burakovsky wristed one from the near circle and tied it up for the Avs with his second goal in two games.
It wouldn’t last long, as the Avs couldn’t hold onto the puck or play it nicely. A turnover in the neutral zone lead to a 2-on-1 that Johnathan Marchessault finished off for the 2-1 lead.
The rest of the period was quiet, but the Avs couldn’t hold onto the puck for long stretches. They needed to work on this to get back into it in the second period after being outshot 15-6 in the frame.
In continuation of the first period, Vegas continued to be on the forefront early. They pushed the puck through the crease that couldn’t find the stick of a Golden Knight player before being cleared out by Devon Toews.
The Avs slowly but surely started to grow into it. Valeri Nichushkin handcuffed Laurent Brossoit a couple times, as did Alex Newhook. Their defensive partner in Erik Johnson also found the iron within that five minute stretch.
The action was ramped up towards the end, as each team went back-and-forth down the ice creating chances. Gabriel Landeskog committed a slashing penalty that he was very unpleasant about as he was being held at the same time. Things simmered down after that, but the Avs had to be feeling good about their chances to get things squared up in the third period.
The Avalanche came out with the perfect response in the third period. Logan O’Connor set up Jack Johnson at the blue line who smoked one that was deflected by J.T. Compher. He needed a goal and got one in big fashion to tie it at two.
Just 26 seconds later, the two best players on the team finally connected after starting the night quietly. Cale Makar slotted a beautiful pass to Nathan MacKinnon who bulleted it past a flailing Brossoit to give the Avs the 3-2 advantage.
The Avs were just looking to close it out from here and play a solid road game to finish it off. Things got risky with five minutes left when Stephenson flew into the zone and almost got it past Darcy Kuemper.
After squandering a couple of chances at the empty net, the Avs held Vegas at bay with some good defensive stops and solid Kuemper saves to hang on and dim the lights of Las Vegas in a blanket of Avalanche snow with the victory.
In this final season series game between these two teams, each looking to earn bragging rights over the other. Each side had one win coming into tonight, funny enough with both winning away from home ice. The Avs continued that trend tonight ending up on top in the season series 2-1, winning both times at T-Mobile Arena.
Jared Bednar continues to shake things up with the lines, experimenting with what he can find including scratching Tyson Jost tonight. This includes the power play, which is now 2/30 and not doing well in any sense of the imagination. Bednar will continue to mess with things in terms of lines and power play units in-game as there won’t be much practice going forward with 29 games in a 60 day span.
One noticeable negative in the first two periods of the game was the defense. There has been some criticism as of late when it comes to the pairings the Avs have out there. The veteran status of Johnson-and-Johnson is great but sometimes can be a liability on the ice. Same goes for Ryan Murray and Kurtis MacDermid when he is on defense, and Sam Girard certainly hasn’t been at the top of his game either. So I ask you Avs fans, does Joe Sakic need to make a move for a defensemen at the trade deadline?
Should the Avs trade for another defensemen?
This poll is closed
Use the depth of defense from the Colorado Eagles
Trade for other assets for the team
The Avs will go home for a single game against the New York Islanders in Jack Johnson’s scheduled 1,000th NHL game. Puck drop for the special occasion is Tuesday at 7 p.m. MT.