It was nothing special or as exciting as Wednesday night’s affair, but the Avs got the job done just as they needed to. While it fits Greg Wyshynski’s description of the Avs being “bland” as he described Thursday morning, the Avs got the job done as they were supposed to.
The first period was very tame and the opposite of what we saw 24 hours ago. The Avs had their chances though, with Artturi Lehkonen and Valeri Nichushkin breaking in along the boards but neither found the net.
Lehkonen wasn’t done there, as he found the outside of the post. The Devils then followed suit hitting two posts of their own. Alex Newhook also hit the post as the Avs’ only power play of the period expired. Erik Johnson and Nathan MacKinnon each threw big hits in the closing minutes of the period which ended with goose eggs on either side of the scoreboard.
The Avs looked much better in the second. It started right away when Logan O’Connor collected a rebound and turned it around into the net. On the night the Avs celebrated the University of Denver’s NCAA Hockey National Championship, the former Pio got the lead.
Just a few minutes later, Andre Burakovsky received a beautiful feed from Lehkonen behind the net. He whipped it past 2018 Game 5 hero Andrew Hammond while the net became dislodged by Dougie Hamilton. After a review, it was called a good goal and it doubled the lead.
The Avs kept on rolling, as this time Lehkonen would be the one finding the twine. He got the rebound on the power play and put it into a gaping net and made the lead 3-0 heading into the final frame.
After the Avs killed off a couple of penalties, the game started opening up. There was plenty of back-and-forth hockey for a minute. However, at the end of it, Jesper Bratt would get one back for the Devils.
The Avs shut it down from there, even having a chance to kill it off for good when Nichushkin managed to hit both posts on a 2-on-1 with MacKinnon. Eventually, the Avs would end the game and almost tack on an empty netter when MacKinnon sent it down 200 feet into the empty net after time expired.
The accolades for the Avs as a team keep on rolling. They’ve won eight straight games now, continuing the hot streak they’re currently on. They increase their franchise-record wins in a season to 54. This includes a franchise record of 30 wins on home ice. These numbers are only going up from here for the rest of the season.
The personal accolades are strong for the Avs too. Rantanen has a new career-high in points with 88 after assisting on Lehkonen’s power-play goal. Makar also has tied Steve Duchene for the most points in a season as a defenseman with 82 after assisting on Lehkonen’s goal as well. Expect both of these point totals to grow in the final eight games of the season as well.
The Avs had the chance to clinch the Central Division title tonight but couldn't do so. The St. Louis Blues blew the wind out of the Buffalo Sabres’ sails 6-2, and the Minnesota Wild beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 in OT. Both the Blues and Wild needed to lose for the Avs to get the division title. Their time to clinch it is coming soon. It looks like it could be possible as early as Saturday when the two division rivals play in a huge afternoon matinee.
Avs have a 16 point lead with Minn having 9 left to play (18 possible points) and STL with 8 (16 possible points) regardless if Minn wins Sat if Colorado wins they keep the 16 point lead with Minn only able to tie which COl has the better division record.— Shaquille OatMeal (@VegasDegen1985) April 15, 2022
The Avs have a big matchup Saturday night with the Carolina Hurricanes coming to town. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. MT.