The Colorado Avalanche capped off a successful 3-0 road trip in Seattle against the Kraken, claiming two crucial points as they claw their way back into the Western Conference playoff chase they still can win.
Seattle came out strong, out-shooting the Avs 8-1 early on. Both teams traded two power plays, and despite some good pressure, particularly by Colorado, neither could find the back of the net and they went to the 2nd tied 0-0.
After playing scoreless hockey for nearly half the second period, the Avs and Kraken quickly traded goals. First it was Alex Newhook finishing a scramble around the net.
A little over a minute later, Ryan Donato ripped a shot past Francouz to tie it.
Both teams traded chances in waves, and Logan O’Connor continued to be snakebit, fanning on a one-timer with an open net in front of him, and the Avs and Kraken went to yet another intermission all tied up.
The back-and-forth play continued into the third, and both teams missed big chances on each end with a little over five minutes to go, and just under the five-minute mark the Kraken hit the post, and Erik Johnson got banged up clearing the puck away from an open net. Neither team could cash in despite some nervy final moments, and the Avs and Kraken went to yet another intermission all tied up.
It was a fairly uneventful overtime (relatively speaking by the crazed standards of 3-on-3 hockey), with the best chance being a Sam Girard breakaway saved by Philipp Grubauer. Seattle had a mad scramble by the Avs net at the buzzer, but no one could get their stick on it, and the game went to a shootout.
Francousz had a nice poke check to break up Donato’s first shot for the Kraken. Evan Rodrigues tried to respond with a backhand, and Grubauer got his stick in to break it up as well. Jordan Eberle was up next, and he just missed the net. Nathan Mackinnon stepped up next with a chance to change the game, and he slipped it in between Grubauer’s legs with some saucy hands. Francousz poked Daniel Sprong’s final shot away, and the Avs picked up a crucial two points.
Facing a tough opponent at home on the second half of a back-to-back is a big test no matter where you are in the season, and this was a particularly sweet victory given all the challenges the Avs have put themselves through lately. They stayed patient and rolled with the punches Seattle threw at them, further proving that this is a different team than the panicked one who found themselves in a deep hole early on against Florida last week. It felt like the sky was falling against Chicago just a week ago, and now the Avs are headed home with all six points from this road trip. How quickly things can change in the NHL.
The Avs head home for their final three games before the All-Star Break, starting against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m.