It took a while, but on Monday night, the Colorado Avalanche got back a little bit of their mojo.
And once they did, the Seattle Kraken never stood a chance.
Halfway through the game, the Avalanche found their game, scoring five unanswered goals on their way to a massive 5-1 victory over the Kraken. In the third period, Seattle registered just one shot on net, and had no answer for the Avalanche once they started playing up to their capabilities.
Mikko Rantanen, Ross Colton, Cale Makar, Jonathan Drouin, and Valeri Nichushkin scored the goals for Colorado, while Alexandar Georgiev stopped 18 of the 19 shots sent his way.
Here we go again, right?
Nine straight games the Kraken had scored first on the Avalanche.
Make it 10, but not without some fisticuffs first.
Kurtis MacDermid, who barely played on the evening, stepped onto the ice and went toe-to-toe with Jamie Oleksiak, who was involved in the incident with Artturi Lehkonen earlier this week. I don’t think Oleksiak meant to do anything on purpose, but MacDermid did his job, and found one of the few guys in the NHL who is actually bigger than him. Oleksiak isn’t much of a fighter, and MacDermid definitely got the best of him in this one.
That should have picked Colorado up, right?
Not so fast.
Not even 40 seconds later, the Kraken got on the board first, as Brandon Tanev picked up a rebound for his first goal of the season. A mistake by Tanev proved costly for the Kraken just a few minutes later.
On their first powerplay of the game, the Avalanche gave up an odd-man rush almost immediately, as Makar flubbed a pass at the point. Alex Wennberg had multiple shots, as the Colorado skaters just let him whack away at the puck before he finally lifted it over a sprawling Georgiev, making it 2-0 Seattle.
But hold up. Jared Bednar challenged the goal, as Tanev collided with Georgiev before the puck went into the net. He would win the challenge, as the refs ruled it to be goaltender interference, nullifying the goal. A huge moment in the game, and one that came back to bite Seattle.
Colorado didn’t generate much the rest of the period, and went into the intermission down a goal.
It finally happened. It took nearly 11 periods, but Colorado finally found the back of the net on the road.
And to the surprise of no one, it came off the stick of Mikko Rantanen.
With just under eight minutes left in the second, a Devon Toews shot proved to be difficult for Joey Daccord to handle. MacKinnon got the first hack at the rebound, and Rantanen was there to clean up the mess, putting it into an empty net and tying the game up.
At that point, the Kraken had 17 shots on net. The rest of the game, they registered just two additional shots.
Just two minutes later, Ross Colton added a goal you would expect to see from Colton, battling right in front of the net for a rebound. After winning a face-off on the powerplay, a Toews shot bounced off Tomas Tatar in front, and landed right in front of Daccord. Colton cleaned it up, giving Colorado the 2-1 lead.
These two plays sparked Colorado to a 22-2 run on shots on net, and they never looked back.
When Colorado has had a lead in the third, they’ve been difficult to beat, and in the third, they looked like the Avalanche we’ve come to expect these last few years. Controlling the puck, pushing the play, and proving that the best defense is spending time in the opposing team’s zone.
Makar, who is still being booed by Kraken fans, scored the goal that really ended the Kraken’s night. The Avalanche worked the puck around from one side of the ice to the other before Makar sent it down low to Tomas Tatar. The veteran drew a few Kraken players to him, and sent it back to a wide open Makar, who labeled a perfect shot into the back of the net, making it 3-1.
Five minutes later, Jonathan Drouin got the monkey off his back. Fittingly, Nathan MacKinnon played a big role in that.
A nice stretch pass by Sam Malinski, playing his first NHL game, found Rantanen in the neutral zone. The big Finn sent a perfect one-touch pass to a streaking MacKinnon, creating a 2-on-1. MacKinnon sent it over to his buddy Drouin, who beat Daccord under his arm, extending the lead to three.
Nichushkin added a late powerplay goal, and Colorado walked out of Seattle with a much needed 5-1 victory. In the process, they held the Kraken to just one shot on goal in the third period.
With the victory, Jared Bednar became the 53rd career coach in NHL history to win 300 regular season games. He’ll continue climbing up that list over the next few seasons.
Colorado now heads home for one game, as they’ll take on the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday night at Ball Arena. That game starts at 7 PM MST.