Now that the Colorado Avalanche have their final roster for the rest of the season and playoffs there will still a game to play on this eventful day with the Edmonton Oilers in town. As it turned out the match between these two star-studded offenses was just as eventful with the Avalanche prevailing 3-2 in overtime.
This first period was a bit choppy but fast paced as the teams traded power play opportunities. The Avalanche cashed in on their first chance at the man advantage and got on the board first when at 12:42 Mikko Rantanen potted his 30th goal on the season. The Oilers couldn’t convert on their two chances and the Avalanche held a 1-0 score after 20 minutes.
In the second period the Oilers started turning momentum in their direction as they tied the score on a Kailer Yamamoto goal at 4:07 on a delayed penalty from a Josh Manson double-minor high stick on Evander Kane. The Avalanche killed off the second portion of the penalty and took the lead once again just over two minutes later. Mikko Rantanen tallied his second goal of the night from a Cale Makar feed and the puck deflected off of Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse and into the net.
That was about all that went right for the Avalanche in the second period as the Oilers knotted the score again at deuces when Evander Kane found pay dirt at 9:01 and took advantage of some sloppy play from the Avalanche. Edmonton were successful in turning the game much more into a track meet than the Avalanche would like.
It was a fast, fun, furious and at times frustrating next 30 minutes but no additional goals from either team went on the board. Mikko Rantanen had a couple chances at the hat trick on a late game power play but no dice. The Avalanche tightened up some of their sloppy play and help up well enough defensively to bring the game to overtime.
There was a sense of urgency right from the start of overtime and the Avalanche weren’t going to let Edmonton’s stars embarrass them. It didn’t even take a full minute before Cale Makar fed Nathan MacKinnon right in the slot and he walked right up to Oilers goaltender Mike Smith and fired the puck top corner for the 3-2 final score. MacKinnon had a couple good looks earlier in the game but this move was just vintage flash and finish from him.
The whole Avalanche defensive core was taxed when Ryan Murray left the game after his first shift. Word after the game according to head coach Jared Bednar was Murray took a shot off of his hand or arm and will probably miss some time. Kurtis MacDermid had to shift and fill in on defense to take some minutes. It wasn’t a banner game for newcomer Josh Manson who had a rough outing with multiple turnovers and the penalty. He did get it together by the third period but still ended up with a 13% Corsi For and somehow just 2% expected goals.
The lesson here is that gathering extra bodies for the playoff push might pay off in the long run but it is going to take time integrating now four new players into the system and with a team that has been playing like a well oiled machine for most of the season. However with Murray now out that is another reminder that full-health may never happen either so depth is always a test for contenders but so is fitting in a handful of new players who may never fully acclimate to their new team in such a short amount of time.
Another game at home against the Vancouver Canucks also at 7:30pm MT on Wednesday.