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Avalanche Ride Andre Burakovsky Coattails to Win over Panthers



David Zalubowski/AP

Andre Burakovsky has a lot of offensive talent. And we’re not talking about someone who has yet to “tap” his potential as a hockey player. The fact is, Andre Burakovsky has a Stanley Cup ring on his finger as a member of the Washington Capitals from 2018, and it wasn’t like he was just a passenger, along for the ride in the playoffs (clears throat…Philipp Grubauer).

Burakovsky scored two goals in a Game 7 victory for Washington over Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference finals, then skated a regular shift in the Caps’ Cup victory over Vegas. So, when Burky does something like he did tonight – score the hat trick in a big home win over the Florida Panthers at Ball Arena, it’s not like it came with no advance notice.

I’ll say this right now: I don’t think Burky will be back as an Av next season. I think he’s going to be a UFA and is going to want a ton of money, and the Avs just won’t be able to afford it. I think his spot will be taken by a hybrid of Oskar Olausson and/or Martin Kaut and/or Alex Newhook and that will be that. And, for the sake of Avs fandom, let’s hope Burky goes out with the Avs like he did with the Caps.

(And, hey, I’ve been known to be wrong on UFA stuff before. Maybe he re-signs, and there’s a street named after him in Denver someday). For now, to quote the great Ric Ocasek of the great Boston band, the Cars, “Let the Good Times Roll.”

The Avs won a game tonight because they are a better hockey club than the Florida Panthers, despite the visitors’ gaudy record coming in. Colorado won despite not having the captain, Gabe Landeskog, in the lineup and despite not having leading scorer, Nazem Kadri, in the lineup – nor great young defenseman Bo Byram.

And, the Avs also lost a defenseman in the game. Jacob MacDonald was taken off the ice on a stretcher after a hard, but clean, hit from Panthers forward Ryan Lomberg. MacDonald had his head down some coming out of the corner with a puck, and paid for it with a shoulder check to the upper body. There was no penalty on the hit, and I would bet a million to one against any supplemental discipline from the league to be forthcoming on it.

A lot of people who don’t really know much about the game of hockey want to think they can maybe legislate every bad thing that might happen in a game in which players are traveling at 25-30 mph on skates. But, like death and taxes, bad things are going to happen. I’d love for nobody to ever run a red light ever again in human history, too, but it’s going to happen.

Even Avs coach Jared Bednar agreed.

“I think it looked clean, yeah,” Bednar said.

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The good news is, MacDonald was reported, by Avs radio man Conor McGahey, to be alert, responsive and with full motor function not long after being taken off.

The Avs responded in all the right ways after the hit on MacDonald hit. They roughed up plenty of Panthers, and beat them on the scoreboard. Burakovsky was the judge, jury and executioner in all of this.

“We’ve been really good lately, and I think we cleaned it up some on the back end, like we wanted. I think we’re going in the right direction,” Burakovsky said. “If I get a chance to shoot it or make a play, I’m doing it. If someone has a better chance than me, then I’m passing it.”

But Burky had all the best chances tonight, and he took advantage with his excellent shot. Ask hockey people, and they’ll tell you Burakovsky has one of the best releases in the league with his shot. It’s quick, fast and accurate much of the time.

Burakovsky’s final goal broke a 2-2 tie, and the Avs had to hang on at the end, when Florida went on the power play with 1:18 left. Darcy Kuemper was sprawled out a couple of times, but managed to keep the puck out of the net in those tense final seconds.

Erik Johnson also made a big play at the end, helping stop a puck that might have gone over the goal line otherwise.

The Avs are now 16-7-2, and it was nice to see them win a tough, defensive-minded game too. You can’t score seven goals every night.

The Avs only got three tonight, and from only one player. But they were the better team, and deserved the win.

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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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Great read as always AD!


Great win! Good to see Burky light it up and even throw a big hit. Probably right about Burky taking the money and running in FA. I think the word on EJ’s game saving goal is that the puck Would have crossed the line had he not be there. What a game!


Great job Dater! What a game it definitely felt like a playoff game maybe a future Stanley Cup matchup?

Ted Grycel

Great article A.D., I loved not only the goals Burky had, but seeming him check and get physical was awesome. The was a good deserved team win, loved the grit and backbone the team showed. I’ve been waiting to see them step up for quite some time. It’s unfortunate for MacD, hit was clean but it sucks to see another blow to a players head especially seeing it’s ours. I wonder though if Kadri would draw a penalty on either of those hits to MacK or MacD. How about JJohnson finishing his shift then coming back and finishing out the… Read more »


Was at the game, and it was one of the best games I’ve seen in many many years! Burakovsky’s interview on the ice (first star) was hilarious- asked about how tense it was out there in the last minute with the PK and empty net, he said he’s never been more nervous in his life, and then, and I quote, ‘it was fucking awesome’. I had asked previously if we could get a detail of Troubas hit on MacKinnon, and Kadri’s suspension hit – not really sure that I know a clean hit anymore. And looking at the replay of… Read more »


One of the best regular season games you’ll ever see that truly felt like a playoff game. The Panthers were intent on making this a low scoring affair and this is the type of strategy you will see against the Avs down the road. Florida was quick to dump the puck down the ice, forecheck, be physical and counterattack. That was a quality win against a very good hockey team. The key to the Avs success and the key to winning the Cup is strong play in the neutral zone. Of course, you need good goaltending but the Avs have… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by ricoflashback
Bob Neal

Totally agree this is the style of hockey that the Av’s need to play. Question for you and Yan is do you still want to go after MAFif Keumper plays at the level he did last night?

Yan Girard

IMHO, it will be difficult to properly assess Kuemper during the season. Kuemper has only one season over 30 games played and is already 31 years old. Kuemper has no accomplishment in playoffs either. He isn’t a goalie very experienced and demonstrates already signs of instability (technical, equipment, injury). In a hockey team, the goalie is the one who has the most pressure. In playoffs, it’s worse. When you are the goalie of a team that is contender to Stanley Cup, it’s again worse. Are there any chances that Kuemper can perform well in playoffs? Yes, it’s possible. However, it… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Alexander A.
Bob Neal

Thanks Yan. You make a good case for your perspective.


After listening to a podcast from another site… I feel the media (this includes you, Dater) should stop using “clean” as their standard nomenclature for a hit such as the one MacDonald suffered in last night’s game. I strongly feel that reporters and game announcers/commentators should use “legal” as the descriptive nomenclature.

Clean implies innocence and purity. None of that exists in an aggressive sport such as hockey. Let’s face it, these guys are out to hurt each other…


Really good point here. The guy saw that MacDonald had his head down and made a decision to hit him dangerously. Clean or not, legal or not, he took advantage of a vulnerable player and with unnescessary force. That deserves an ass whooping and kudos to Aube-Kubel for going and delivering the message. Ironicly the Avs played harder than the team with these guys on it has ever played. Playoff game? This generation Avs have never played that hard in the playoffs. I hope they found something in themselves now that they can ride forward with. New kind of grit.… Read more »


The NFL has ‘unnecessary roughness.’ Maybe the NHL needs something similar.


I thought about that as well when this happened and I think hockey needs a rule like that.

Karl Keen

I’ve always interpreted a “roughing” or “boarding” or “charging” penalty to mean that


Only roughing could possibly be interpreted that way. Roughing is when a player strikes another player during an altercation which is not a fighting major. It doesn’t pertain to checks.

Exact text from the league: “Roughing is a punching or slamming motion with or without the glove on the hand, normally directed at the head or face of an opponent, or if a player intentionally removes an opponent’s helmet during play.”

Last edited 11 months ago by dk

That was a test for the Panthers and they came up short, not the Avs. Avs haven’t even hit their stride with the full compliment of the roster and they are sailing along at a nice clip.

Yan Girard

Barkov was hurt for the Panthers.


Kadri and Landy were hurt for the Avs…

Yan Girard

Yes I know. We mentioned the injuries of the Avs. We must not forget the injuries of the opponent either 🙂

Last edited 11 months ago by Alexander A.

Loved Burky’s emmotion… the joy in his facial expression after that 3rd goal was simply awesome. I was surprised to learn that was his first hat trick considering his lethal shot, but glad he finally got one. Way to go!

Bob Neal

Yes he got the Altitude guys apologizing profusely just as they did last season when AD also dropped the horrid “F” word. I love watching Altitude scramble as if someone lit a fire in the studio.

Karl Keen

Well great game and one that shows the Avs are getting back on track. Impressive win considering we were missing Kadri and Landy. I think Florida is a top 5 team. Not liking the first goal Kuemper gave up or that Maltsev, in his first game, did stupid penalty that gave them life. We were seemingly in control until then. I owe Burky an apology as I’ve been critical of keeping him over Donskoi (may still be a concern come playoff time), but he seems fired up right now and scoring some incredible goals. He was even a bit physical… Read more »

Yan Girard

I always put Burky over Donskoi. Burky starts the peak of his career at 26 years old. He has a great speed and one of the best shot NHL. He is able to score at a large distance without screen. I would find it a shame that the Avs don’t resign him at the next summer.

Last edited 11 months ago by Alexander A.

Anything supplemental coming for Weegar’s stupidity at the end of the game?

That kind of clown show does need to get legislated out of the game.

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