Will the Colorado Avalanche ever get off to a strong start in this series?
Maybe they will, but it didn’t happen in game four.
As they have every single game, the Kraken came out and swarmed the Avalanche, pinning them in their own end and dominating the play. That intensity continued all game long, and eventually paid off, as Jordan Eberle scored the game-winner in overtime, giving them the 3-2 victory. The Kraken nearly doubled up the Avalanche in shots, and with the win, have guaranteed that the series will come back to Seattle for one more game. That will be an elimination game, as whoever wins game five on Wednesday will have a chance to finish the series on Friday.
One of these days, the Avalanche will come out flying in the first period.
This was not one of those days.
For the fourth consecutive game, the Kraken came out with all the intensity, and the Avalanche were stuck chasing in their own end.
After killing an early Matt Nieto penalty, it seemed like the Avalanche might get some momentum going. Instead, they gave the Kraken another easy one. Behind his own net, Mikko Rantanen turned the puck over, leading to Adam Larsson getting the puck at the point. He sent it to a wide-open Will Borgen who fired a one-timer past Alexandar Georgiev’s glove, giving the Kraken the 1-0 lead.
Things got heated near the halfway point of the period. Jared McCann was stopped on a shorthanded breakaway by Georgiev, and the puck went into the netting. Cale Makar, who was chasing McCann, followed through with a heavy hit on the unsuspecting McCann, which appeared to knock out the Kraken forward. From what I could tell, no penalty was called originally. The refs then went and announced a five-minute major for Makar, only to downgrade it to a minor penalty after review. McCann never returned to the game and is out for game five.
The Kraken, however, were able to capitalize on the penalty.
J.T. Compher won a face-off, but Josh Manson failed to clear the puck out of the zone. Not long after, it came to Daniel Sprong at the left circle. He cut to the middle and fired a shot past Georgiev’s glove, giving the Kraken the two goal lead.
From that point on, Makar heard boo’s from the Seattle crowd every time he touched the puck, which is a lot. Colorado generated very little offense, and went into the intermission down 2-0. Seattle outshot them 18-8 in the opening period.
Just like the first period, the second started remarkably slow for the Avalanche. It took them over six minutes to register a shot in the period, and any time they got close to Grubauer, the Kraken got in the shooting lanes. Georgiev kept them in it until the elite talent of Colorado got them back in the game.
At 14:08 of the period, MacKinnon broke the puck out and started a 3-on-2. He played a little give-and-go with Evan Rodrigues, and eventually got it across to Rantanen. The defenseman lost the big Finn, and he cut to the middle right before beating Grubauer through the five-hole. Suddenly, Colorado had life.
And at the very end of a late powerplay, Rantanen tied it up.
After some great puck movement by the Avalanche and a few missed opportunities, the puck came around to Rantanen again. Instead of taking the immediate shot, he moved to a slightly better position, and fired it over Grubauer’s glove, tying the game up.
After two periods in which they were greatly outplayed, the Avalanche had found a way to make it even.
The third period was relatively even, as the Avalanche cleaned up some things in their own end, but still struggled to create much in terms of dangerous chances. Their best look came late when a puck rolled into the slot, but Cogliano’s shot at the empty net was blocked.
Georgiev continued his strong play, stopping all seven shots that came his way, including a confident glove save.
You know what that means? Our first overtime session of the playoffs.
Overtime did not last very long. Just two minutes into the extra period, Josh Manson was beat wide by Jayden Schwartz and took a tripping penalty. Soon after, the game was over.
After a few blocked shots by Avalanche defenders, the puck eventually ended up on the stick of Jordan Eberle. He fired it up and over a sliding Georgiev, giving the Kraken the win and tying the series at two.
The series now shifts back to Colorado, where Ball Arena will host game five on Wednesday night. The game starts at 7:30 PM MST.