After earning a confidence boosting 8-2 win at home the Colorado Avalanche took their show on the road for a two-game trip. First up was a big Central Division showdown with the current division leading Dallas Stars. While an early three-goal deficit reminded of previous Saturday evening failures, this game would eventually turn around into a 6-3 Avalanche victory.
The energy on the ice from the opening faceoff resembled the energy of a playoff game, with both teams playing a tight style of hockey, exchanging chances, and feeling each other out. Neither team produced a particularly great scoring chance early on, until about midway through the frame, when Tyler Seguin whistled a shot past Alexandar Georgiev after finding himself wide open in front from a Mason Marchment cross-crease feed. Shortly after, Miles Wood struck the crossbar on a high-danger opportunity and the score remained 1-0 Dallas.
Seggy on the fadeaway! *swish!* pic.twitter.com/aCrg0q0GTE— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) November 19, 2023
Later on, instead of getting a puck in deep at the blueline, Jonathan Drouin found himself in a puck battle where he high sticked Marchment. On the subsequent power play, Seguin while behind the net took advantage of some lackadaisical netfront defense from Cale Makar and found Joe Pavelski open in the slot for a scoring chance. Georgiev got a piece on the shot, but not enough to keep the puck out of the net, and once again in this early season the Avs found themselves chasing after a rough opening period and down 2-0.
Power play power up by Pavelski! pic.twitter.com/NRuUnsJe51— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) November 19, 2023
To begin the second period the Avs would dig the hole even deeper courtesy of a Sam Girard turnover in the defending zone that allowed the Stars to muster a quick counterattack. Esa Lindell fired a shot that Georgiev couldn’t control, and the impending rebound found Seguin’s stick for his second goal of the contest, which was his third point.
On the fadeaway, on the rebound... time to go for threeeeeee, Seggy. pic.twitter.com/9G4D1m0LXF— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) November 19, 2023
The Avs were in trouble. Down three goals on the road against a playoff caliber club, they needed to find a spark and fast. This was nearly impossible to do thanks to some very questionable officiating, but after a series of bad calls and even worse non-calls, the score remained 3-0.
At long last, the Avalanche were able to get on the scoreboard after Miles Wood sped his way into a mini breakaway, and snuck the puck between the legs of Stars netminder Jake Oettinger. Peter DeBoer challenged the play for Goaltender Interference, as Wood slightly kicked Oettinger’s pad after a slash attempt from a Stars defender knocked Wood off balance slightly. But the goal stood and it was a momentum change the visitors needed.
Later on with the period coming to a close, Colorado was given a powerplay after Roope Hintz high sticked Ryan Johansen, and it would be RyJo who also delivered the goal with the man-advantage after he deflected a Makar shot in the high slot. The Stars lead going into the second intermission was now cut to a very manageable 3-2, and left the Avs with 20 minutes to find an equalizer at bare minimum.
With the momentum in their back pocket from the Johansen goal, the Avs came out for the final frame soaring. Just under five minutes into the period, the relentless pressure finally resulted in the tying goal off the stick of former Dallas Star Valeri Nichushkin on a pretty passing play. After the frustrating opening 30 minutes the club fought through, the score was even at 3-3, and now it was just all about winning the remainder of the period.
The Avs had the Stars on their heels all period long, turning that pressure into what was at one point a 13-2 shot advantage in favor of Colorado, and it felt like the go-ahead goal was coming. After Logan O’Connor was robbed point blank by Oettinger with about six minutes to go, Mikko Rantanen capitalized on a nifty backhander the next possession down, and the Avalanche found themselves in the lead for the first time all night, and with only around five minutes remaining.
Only 11 seconds later with the fourth line on the ice, former Star Andrew Cogliano barely snuck a puck over the goal line to double the Avs lead at 5-3, with another former Star, Joel Kiviranta, contributing the primary assist.
The Stars would pull Oettinger for the extra skater, which resulted in Ross Colton scoring an empty netter from the defensive zone to seal the deal. Colorado once down 3-0 had doubled up the Stars at 6-3, and stole a win on the road thanks to a dominant final stanza.
While the six unanswered goals were fun, Colorado needs to stop coasting into the start of these games. Life would be much easier for the club if they could start consistently opening the scoring, and it’s important to not let negatives become habits, such as not starting games on time.
The second period officiating is some of the worst officiating I’ve seen in an NHL game, period. I was genuinely convinced for about 10 minutes of this hockey game that the Avalanche were trending towards some form of misconduct penalty due to frustrations with the officiating, which was highlighted by a hooking penalty on O’Connor that was identical to an uncalled hook on Rantanen moments before.
Cale Makar (three assists) became the fastest Defenseman in NHL history to notch 200 assists, doing so in just 254 career games, and continues to cement himself as the best Defenseman in the NHL, and it’s not particularly close.
The Avalanche will be back in action on Monday evening from the Music City for a tilt with Ryan O’Reilly and the new-look Nashville Predators. Puck drop is at 6:00 p.m. MT.