After each Colorado Avalanche playoff game, I’ll put out some rapid reaction on what I’m feeling right after the game, before gathering more thoughts for Plus/Minus in the morning.
It tells you a lot that the Avalanche outscored the Seattle Kraken 11-3 with Nathan MacKinnon on the ice in the series at even strength, but were still eliminated.
MacKinnon and his partner in crime, Mikko Rantanen, tried to do everything they could to get the Avalanche out of round one, but in the end, they had no support. Their biggest support would have come from the blueline, but Cale Makar, who more or less admitted he wasn’t 100% before the series started, wasn’t himself. He didn’t have the burst he usually does, and it was very noticeable. The usually steady Devon Toews was wildly inconsistent, and Bowen Byram was a non-factor most of the series.
Up front, the two stars were on an island. Evan Rodrigues had the most chances of all the leftovers, but struggled to finish. J.T. Compher did not register an even-strength point in the series. Lars Eller isn’t the player he used to be, and the bottom six did not chip in with a single goal in the seven games. It’s impossible to win that way.
Most of Game Seven was just spent waiting for the two stars to get back on the ice so that the Avalanche might have a chance of scoring. And by the time the third period rolled around, they were both gassed. At one point near the end of one of their shifts, the two of them slowly glided towards the bench to get off. They didn’t have energy to waste to get there quicker.
The physical and mental exhaustion of carrying the forward core through most of the season seemed to finally hit, and in the final half of the third period, Colorado didn’t create much offense. The disallowed goal seemed to take the energy out of not only the building, but the team as well.
“We emptied the tank, that’s for sure,” Rantanen said after the game. It sure looked like it.
There’s plenty to talk about this offseason, and we’ll get there, but MacKinnon and Rantanen did everything they could to get this team out of the first round. In the end, they couldn’t do it alone.