It’s nice to win, isn’t it? The Colorado Avalanche should be feeling great at this moment, scoring a 3-2 overtime victory over the Edmonton Oilers. The win snaps a five-game losing streak the Avs had been on and finally takes them off of 41 points and up to 43.
Oh, and it’s also the second straight overtime win Colorado has had over Edmonton if you catch my drift.
After a couple of penalties for each side were killed off, it seemed as if this would end up being a low event period. Neither team was shooting much, nor creating any dangerous chances to test either Alexandar Georgiev or Stuart Skinner.
However, the tempo would change quickly as Nathan MacKinnon had a couple of his shots saved or find iron. The bad luck would flow to the defense, as Alex Newhook was called for a bad interference penalty where Derek Ryan just ended up skating into him at the front of the net. The Avs would pay, as Zach Hyman converted for the lead.
Even though Martin Kaut and Ben Meyers followed the goal up with a couple of chances on a 2-on-1, they couldn’t find the net. The same story unfolded on the power play where Hyman roughed up Girard. Nonetheless, despite outshooting the Oilers 15-7, the Avs were down one heading into the second.
The Avs came out flying and looked as if the equalizer was right on the horizon. Chances from MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Brad Hunt, and Sam Girard all were either stopped by Skinner or found the iron.
While it looked like a goal was coming, Edmonton weathered the storm. In fact, they got another goal of their own in a questionable manner. To break it down: Girard took a questionable goaltender interference penalty, leading to Hyman’s second of the game on a goalmouth scramble. However, Hyman’s stick pushed the pad of Georgiev back as the puck trickled in. Jared Bednar challenged for goaltender interference but lost out.
Because he lost the challenge, his team had to kill off a delay of game penalty and an ensuing Erik Johnson phantom tripping penalty. While they were able to kill both off, it left a lot to be desired heading into the final 20 minutes.
After a Klim Kostin tripping penalty which had carried over from the second period was killed off, the Avs looked to get anything going forward. After a demoralizing power play, the task in it of itself would be difficult. But, Nathan MacKinnon made it look easy.
His line continued to force the issue, creating a ton of chances after the goal but nothing finding the twine. In fact, more ice was opened after Devon Toews was called for holding Hyman. Hyman sold the call and was called for embellishment. The open ice led to an unlikely goalscorer tying up the game.
While the Oilers had some pushback, the Avs continued to move forward. Darren Helm caught an errant elbow from Leon Draisaitl which led to a great power play but nothing in the net.
The final 4:45 after the power play would bring the drama for two sides, both desperately needing the points. Despite some great chances for either side, 60 minutes wouldn’t be enough.
The Oilers piled on the pressure early, which included a couple of post hits and Hyman nearly completing his hat trick with a shot out of midair. But, before you knew it, the legend of Cale Makar would scorch down to the other end and send the Oilers fans home hanging their heads.
There were some lineup changes from Bednar, which were probably called for as he looked for anything to get his team going. This included scratching Andreas Englund, and moving Kurtis MacDermid back to defense. Jacob MacDonald came in on the fourth line, while Rodrigues returned to the lineup to cover for the injured Denis Malgin. The bigger story was breaking up the top line and moving Rantanen to the second line. While none of the second line actually ended up scoring points, something worked which enabled the Avs to get the victory.
As mentioned earlier, Rodrigues returned from injury to replace the now-injured Malgin. His return was great, and because of the changes to the top line, he actually ended up with the first line often. He recorded two assists in his return, which was much anticipated and very much helpful to give the Avs at least a little more depth than they had before.
While the victory is huge in its own right, Colorado will still look to get better. They are still two points behind the Oilers and Calgary Flames for the last wild-card spot. Their power play went 0-for-4 on the night, and as a whole has dropped from first to eighth in the league. It’d be more ideal to finish the chances given to them, especially in the second period and ending on 46 shots total. Nonetheless, a win is a win in this situation and they will take whatever they can get right now. Who knows, this may be a season-changing victory.
The Avs return home for one game against the Florida Panthers Tuesday night. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. MT, nationally televised on ESPN+ and Hulu for those who have subscriptions and can watch!