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Avalanche playoffs

Gut Punch: Avs Blow Game 5 to Vegas



Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire

Well, how the hell did that happen?

How did the Avs lose this game? How?

How did a two-goal lead to start the third period turn into a 2-2 game within the first three minutes? How would the Avs, so smart with the puck the first 40 minutes, make two major gaffes with it and pay both times? This whole thing went from done like dinner to an overturned table of food all over the carpet in an instant. Then, before many fans could get back into their seats, they lose 50 seconds into overtime.

What happened?

Well, this was certainly quite the gut punch. And it all was so unnecessary too. Two blunders with the puck – Andre Burakovsky on the first, Gabe Landeskog on the second – just gift-wrapped two goals to the Golden Knights early in the third period.

That instantly vaporized a first 40 minutes of hard work and smart hockey. Just like that.

It felt like the Avs just got stunned from there and lost it, in overtime. A game, and series, that had seemed over in their respective stages, is now a loss in the rubber Game 5 and potential elimination night in the madhouse of T-Mobile Arena Thursday night.

“We got to go into Vegas and win a hockey game. It’s as simple as that,” Landeskog said, trying to project confidence in a tough situation.

The Avs had just come off one of their best periods of the playoffs too, a dominant second in which they outworked and outskilled Vegas for most every second, building a 2-0 lead on a Joonas Donskoi one-timer from the slot. That’s what made the start of the third so shocking. The Avs been in such command, and just played giveaway all of a sudden.

Superstreak Bonus!

Burakovsky threw away a puck in his own end, leading to a bunch of scrambling around and Alex Tuch putting a puck past Philipp Grubauer in front. OK, fluke goal, fluke play, won’t happen again. Still, a 2-1 game.

Down the ice came Landeskog on a 3-on-2  break, with the puck on his forehand coming down the right side. Landeskog, instead put directing the puck toward the net, threw a long cross-ice pass over to Ryan Graves, but the puck hit Graves’ backfoot and bounced the other way and an odd-man rush for the Knights.

Jonathan Marchessault put a puck past Grubauer and suddenly it was a tie game in a building with the air taken out of it.

The Avs came close a couple of times in the third, but couldn’t finish anything and it went to sudden death.

Mark Stone won it with a wrister on a mini-breakaway at 50 seconds.

It was sudden death, indeed. After everything had seemed so good too.

“It’s a game of mistakes,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “We might have had only three turnovers the whole night and each one cost us a goal. They didn’t get a lot of chances tonight, but they made us pay on enough chances to win the hockey game.”

“Go do that again except for two plays. That’s exactly what I told the team,” Bednar said.

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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Why did Makar have to sit on the bench and watch Graves get two shots blocked and then lose Stone? What’s the point of paying MacKinnon and Rantanen big bucks and then letting them watch JT Compher in OT in the biggest game of the year? How do your best players not even get to play in OT?

Richard Trujillo

Mackinnon was on the point with Graves in OT and should have have covered for Graves when Graves was trying to shoot. Not only does Mackinnon not score goals he is a liability on defense and essentially gave up the goal to end the game.


MacKinnon is bad defensively and until he gets it together on that end he will not be considered one of the greats. He should have sold out and dove to block that shot attempt from Stone. He didn’t.

Karl Keen

Good point. I was wondering why the other “defenseman” didn’t circle back for coverage when Graves moved to the middle of the ice, particularly knowing that Graves had a 90% chance of shooting it into the opposing player (his specialty).


Maybe Graves should get the puck to Mack and not force it thru 2 Vegas defenders in the first place.

Richard Trujillo

Maybe. But he didn’t and Mackinnon blew it.


Good question!

Richard Trujillo

It is time for everyone to admit that this group of Mackinnon, Rantanen, and Landeskog just doesn’t have it. Mackinnon in particular has now ended his season early four years in a row. How many years in a row do you guys need to see it?

Bednar and his TEAM did a tremendous job tonight and they deserved to win. Rantanen, Mackinnon, and Landeskog are not the answer. O’Reilly should have been wearing that “C” and never played a single game in another jersey.

Richard Trujillo

Nate, Gabe, and Mikko all logged on to downvote this.

Pull your heads out and get it done in game 6 boys! Prove me wrong.


MacKinnon is only 25 and still gaining valuable playoff experience because at the start of his career the Avs blew chunks and had whiny Duchene around. The race is just beginning for him, you’re acting as if he’s a 32 year-old Ovechkin with no Cup and years of failures. Your comments are just annoying and overly-negative. Mac is a beast period.



Avalanche are the Leafs of the west.


Stupid comment. The two teams aren’t even comparable. Are you idiots making these sorts of comments aware of the streaky nature of hockey? The Avs could easily have one that close-as-fuck game. Complete coin toss. Also this isn’t the Canadiens the Avs are playing – it’s a much better team. I’ll eat my words if and when the canadiens hand Vegas’ ass to them. I would indeed love if that happens but don’t believe it will for a second!

Last edited 1 year ago by djs
Steve Vockrodt

Seems unlikely the Avs rebound from this. What a devastating loss, and a crushing way to lose. Bednar gave this team a chance to win with some of the changes. But…and I’m not given to knee jerk reactions, but very difficult questions about MacKinnon-Rantenen-Landeskog. Just a stunning disappearing act. It’s one thing to face a tough matchup and figure out ways to cope, accept that other players have to step up, etc., It’s quite another to be completely negative while on ice. And that’s what it’s been for three games. Stanley Cup teams need players like this to score and… Read more »


It’s very likely Mac is playing through injuries. There are many variables people aren’t aware of. This is a very close series but a bunch of you guys are acting like the Avs are getting blown out. Some of you people making negative comments seem really unaware of the unpredictability of the game of Hockey. Tampa Bay won the President’s in 2019 and got their asses SWEPT by Columbus in the 1st round. The next year they WON the cup. The previous year made them stronger. Honestly, CO fans are a bunch of fair-weather pussy fans. Go cheer on some… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by djs

Season over. A team not built for the playoffs. I can’t help but think MacKinnon is playing hurt. He’s not himself. But the real issue is turnovers and a cavalier attitude with the puck and not playing smart. There is just no excuse for Burakovsky’s and Landeskog’s blunders. Then, Compher has a wide open right side of the net and misses. Still a couple players away. Or one like Mark Stone. But the Avs never seem to be able to land a real difference maker. It doesn’t matter. Tampa’s gonna repeat anyway. Best goalie and toughest team. See ya next… Read more »


Turnovers and bad decision making has been a problem for some time with not nearly enough change. Does anyone want to have an argument about momentum after what happened with Burakovsky’s gaffe? Vegas is a smarter all-around hockey team….especially on the back end. Hard to say if they are a better coaching staff but that may be true. Hard to measure.


I am just at a loss with the puck management in the third. Burakovsky trys to stick handle through three guys at the blue line and than Landeskog of all people forces a stupid pass on a odd man rush. WTF, I really didn’t think we were that dumb. The wrist shots from the point men needs to end, they never get through. Isn’t that something guys can work on in practice?🤔


It’s hard to take now, but we will this in game 7! We will wrestle this series from Vegas! Because this is what it takes to win championships!


I appreciate your enthusiasm and hope they can make it happen but damn. They actually played pretty well tonight but found every way to lose this one. I actually liked the lineup changes and thought guys played well. It’s just stupid plays and, it sucks to say, Nate going missing.


I am not being enthusiastic. Honestly we played well and deserved the win tonight. But this is hockey. Show me one Stanley Cup champion in forever that didn’t go through some sort major crisis like this? Ok, will we win on Thursday to force a game 7? It seems f’n unlikely. But these are the type of moments that make true champions. It’s only in the moment when you realize that nothing gets handed to you on a silver platter that you will understand what it takes to outlast your competition.


The Avs looked good tonight. It is possible….


I am rooting for this team to show us they can overcome this

Richard Trujillo

Ovechkin is set to be a free agent…

They should let Landy walk, sign Grubauer and go all in on Ovechkin.


The Avs and Sakic will not make a splash or go after top flight players – fun to think about a scenario like that though. The pickings were slim this year at the trade deadline and he managed to get nothing and in fact lost with those three acquisitions.

Richard Trujillo

Yeah, it is a shame too. They need to make a splash to get over the hump but refuse to do it.


Yeah pick up another goal scorer that rarely attempts to play defense is the answer.

Richard Trujillo

Yep, they currently don’t have an elite scorer in the lineup. They need one badly.

Brian Levesque

I would pass on a scorer who is going to decline soon enough he is going to be 36 next season

Mike Fisk

Come on Av’s fans! What’s this “it’s all over $hit!” Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?!?! Hell no! Nothing’s over till we say it is! Cause when the going gets tough?!…..


Might want to crack open a history book but I appreciate the sentiment

Chad Burdorf

Umm, it is a movie quote, don’t have to take everything so seriously. I got it Mike Fisk


🤦‍♂️my bad.


Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.


How did it happen that we just snatched defeat out of the Jaws of victory? Burky’s turnover is obvious. The second turnover at the O blue line, yeah Landy should have taken it to the net, BUT REALLY Ryan Graves has to stop trying to generate offense like he is Bobby Orr or one of the other great Dmen of hockey history. Stanley Cup Champions win because the players know their roles and stay with in them. Graves should not have been trying to play the rush with Landy, he should have been protecting the D zone with a 2-1… Read more »


After reading your take all I am going to call him is Ryan Rahim Moore Graves. Way too similar.

Roger Hutton

Didn’t this happen to the Avs in 2001? Roy had a crap game against NJ, Avs went to East Rutherford, won, and came home and won one for Borque. As a Montreal Canadiens player said recently, ” u come back from 3-1 and nothing scares u. U feel invincible.” Now, we find out what the Avs r made of.


Not only that. We gave away a series in 99 to Dallas where were up 3-2 with game 6 at home. Same shit happened in 2002 when we were up on Detroit 3-2 with game 6 at home. Those 3 teams all went on to win the cup! I think you are absolutely right. If the Avs really want it, if they really believe that the Cup is their rightful f’n property and only theirs, then they will do whatever it takes to win in Vegas. If they can’t muster the mental strength…well then, they are just not ready for… Read more »

Karl Keen

Look, maybe we show some manhood and come out and win the next two games. BUT I will say I cannot stand these gaffes and turnovers. The last part of the season we were committing one major error or turnover per game, but mostly getting away with it. Vegas is just destroying us for them. Burokovsky has been terrible and needs to be benched. He doesn’t commit that turnover, maybe we win that game 3-0. That altered the entire game and then Vegas just has puck luck. Timmins made the play to stop the pass but it somehow deflects perfectly… Read more »


Games like these force me to remind myself that the outcomes have no bearing on my life. The Avs could miss the playoffs or win the cup and nothing would change in my day to day. It’s entertaining but that is all. I watched every minute of the 48 point season in an exercise to prove that I am a true fan. I have been with this team from day one and know you have to take the bad with the good but I had high hopes for this group/core and it seems like they don’t have what it takes.… Read more »


I agree with most of what you said but I don’t agree that this team doesn’t have what it takes to win it. They do big time, sometimes the chips just don’t fall your way. Then game of hockey is extremely unpredictable and the way the league is set up now makes all the games super competitive. Perfect point: Tampa won the President’s trophy in 2019 and got swept first round by Columbus. They won the cup the next year and are going for a repeat this year. Kucherov is a beast. People in this comments section like Richard Trujillo… Read more »

The PG

Frustrating loss. But young players make stupid mistakes and it may have cost them a trip to the next round. You usually can’t afford to giveaway games in the playoffs and the Avs have now given away 2 of them. After the 48 point season, seeing them implode like this sucks, but I will remain an Avs fan.


42 year old team gettin beat by a 4 y/o. Ouch! I would think that would hurt just a bit.


EYE OF THE TIGER! You have it or you don’t. Vegas does. It’s something one of my first hockey coaches talked about after a game. With the AVS there is a lack of intensity at key moments. I’ll tell you this, I think VGK wins the series, but they will appear rather pedestrian in the next series. The continual round two bow out needs to stop soon. This series has been frustrating as hell. I turned the game off after Vegas scored their first goal last night. You can just feel that the energy isn’t there. I’m sure they’ll Make… Read more »

Peter A Brown

Those turnovers were costly. Games always have turnovers, plenty of them, but this time the Knights capitalized when it mattered the most, the sign of a good hockey team. Also, VGK handled the altitude this game as they did game 2 which they really should have won. Plenty of speed and skill over there in Vegas and a very good coach.

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