The Colorado Avalanche returned to their home arena coming off a huge win over the Seattle Kraken, finishing off the season series. A 5-1 win in the Monday outing was exactly what they needed, and as for Game #15, the Avs were back at home facing off against the Anaheim Ducks for the first time this season. For the Ducks, this is the second game of a back-to-back; they defeated the Nashville Predators, 3-2, a day earlier.
The goaltender matchup was Alexandar Georgiev against Lukas Dostal, and the latter was put to work very early. This also included a power play for the Avalanche, the first one for either team in early in this game. Avs had a lot of shots, but the PP was killed. Shortly after the power play, Samuel Girard struck for the Avalanche after a crazy scramble in front of Dostal. It was 1-0 Avs, and that goal was on the team's 11th shot on net, while the Ducks had none. 11-0 shots advantage for Colorado. Holy moley! Ducks' first power play saw them get their first shot of the game, but after that was killed, Valeri Nichushkin made it 2-0 for Colorado. It looked like the Avs would enter intermission with that exact score, but at 19:27, Sam Carrick tips in Radko Gudas' shot to put the Ducks on the board. It was Anaheim's second shot on goal--they had three total in the opening frame, while Colorado had 17.
Period #2 saw the Ducks start to get a few shots in, then Mikko Rantanen high sticks Troy Terry...and there's blood. Double minor penalty to Rantanen, but less than a minute into the first half of the DM, a holding penalty on Anaheim results in a two minute 4-on-4. Ducks return to the power play afterwards, and the rest gets killed off. It's been mostly quiet, but later on, Frederik Olofsson puts one in to make it 3-1 for the Avalanche, who later go on the power play. It gets killed off, the Ducks press in the final moments, but after 40 minutes, the Avs lead 3-1.
And then there's the 3rd period. Ross Colton scores 3:53 into the frame, and it's followed by another Colorado power play. Nichushkin cashes in on that; his second goal of the game makes it 5-1. So the game is getting out of reach for the Ducks, but Max Jones makes it just a tad respectable in the middle of the frame. Three and a half minutes later, Joel Kiviranta, after picking up his first point with the Avs, gets his first goal. The assists: Samuel Girard and Alexandar Georgiev. That's not all. Just 21 seconds later, Andrew Cogliano (who was Kiviranta's ally with the Dallas Stars during their Cup Final run in the 2020 bubble) scores his first of the season, with the helpers coming from Kiviranta and Jack Johnson (the second assist for the latter). Devon Toews adds one of his own just for kicks, and that results in an 8-2 final score in favor of the Avalanche.
Oh boy! Where do I start?! All I can say about this game, especially the third period, is this: it was over two weeks of pent up frustration unleashed. The Ducks were just in the wrong place in the wrong time. Five goals in the 3rd period, the last three scored in a span of over two minutes. Joel Kiviranta with three points. Valeri Nichushkin with two goals. Alexandar Georgiev had an assist, and the easiest win of his career. Here's a scary stat for you: zero. That's how many points Mikko Rantanen had in this game. The Moose was +1 for the evening, but there was no offense from the player leading the team in goals and points this season. That's absolutely scary that the Avs did all of this without a single point from Rantanen. It was mostly the bottom six who provided most of the offense.
The Avalanche's win is our 10th of the season, and we've won back-to-back games for the first time since the 6-0 start. Next up, the Avalanche head to Dallas for a huge Central Division clash with the Stars; the first of back-to-back road division games for the team.
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