After the first period, I wasn’t feeling great about the way things were going for the Avalanche. By the second intermission, I was certain the Avs weren’t going to pull this one off as I began drafting a Game 1 analysis piece. But finally, finally, Arizona’s levies caved to the relentless pressures of Nazem Kadri and the Avalanche attack.
“When it rains, it pours,” as they say, and that it did as the Avalanche buried three goals behind Darcy Kuemper in the span of 1:23 in the final five-ish minutes of the third period to take Game 1.
Here’s how I graded the Avalanche…
Did a great job of cutting off pucks and buzzing in the offensive zone. He almost snuck one past Kuemper in the first period and almost had another later in the game. Led by Bellemare, that Avalanche fourth line was far and away the best throughout the night.
This is the first game I’ve seen from him in the bubble where it looked like he had some confidence. He was playing tough in the corners and the “hard areas,” as coach Bednar calls them. He was taking pucks deep in the zone and at least made an effort to put pucks on net (though he missed the net more times than he hit it). And then the wheels fell off a bit midway through the third period with a pretty blatant hold, and an even better sell-job, by Jason Demers.
And for like the third game in a row, Burky spent the least time on the ice (11:37) of his fellow teammates.