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Colorado Avalanche

Avalanche Take Care Of Business, Eliminate Jets In Front Of Own Crowd




Everyone was waiting for Colorado Avalanche star Mikko Rantanen to make his mark on this series.

He just wanted to make everyone sweat a little bit.

Rantanen scored his first two goals of the series in the third period, giving the Avalanche a lead they were never in danger of giving up. Colorado shut things down for most of the third on their way to a 6-3 win over the Jets, ending the series in five games. Alexandar Georgiev made 33 saves in net, and according to Yakov Trenin, “shut up the haters.” He certainly turned things around after a tough game one, and deserves all the credit in the world. The Jets played arguably their best game of the series, but it wasn’t enough against a Colorado team that looks like they’re really rolling.

Rantanen, Trenin, Valeri Nichushkin, Artturi Lehkonen, and Josh Manson scored the goals for Colorado. Lehkonen and Nichushkin became the first teammates to ever score in five consecutive games to start the postseason. Just goes to show how huge they are to this Avalanche squad.

Colorado will now await the winner of the Dallas Stars/Vegas Golden Knights series, and will get a few days off to recover.

First Period

If not for one of the flukiest goals of the season, the first 10 minutes would have been considered perfect by the Avalanche. They picked up right where they left off, pushing the pace and keeping the puck in the offensive zone.

But that goal. How do you even describe it?

Kyle Connor’s initial shot was stopped by Alexandar Georgiev, but the puck bounced around at the side of the net. Somehow it snuck behind Georgiev, but Josh Manson was there to save the day.

Or not.

Manson went to clear the puck out of the zone, but he cleared it right into Artturi Lehkonen, and the puck trickled into the Avalanche net, giving the Jets the 1-1 lead. A bizarre goal to give up, but it didn’t slow the team down.

Just two minutes later, Devon Toews came off the bench and joined the rush, and the Jets did not account for him. Mikko Rantanen hit him, and Toews found Valeri Nichushkin on the backdoor for an easy one-time goal. With that goal, Nichushkin tied the franchise record for most goals in a single series. Considering it’s only been five games, that’s not bad.

Once the 10 minute mark of the period hit, the Jets kind of took over. They slowed the game down a ton, forcing Colorado to dump the puck in a lot. That’s not what they want to do, but when the Jets are playing the right way, that’s what they can do. To Colorado’s credit, while the Jets controlled the puck more, most of their chances came from the outside.

The shots finished 13-7 in favor of the Avalanche, and both teams went into the intermission with a goal.

Second Period

There was some weird karma going on in period two.

Colorado got a scare early in the period, when Zach Parise took a knee to the head and stayed down on the ice for a while. He did leave the game, but eventually came back to finish the period. Moments later, Yakov Trenin tripped over the blueline, and fans gave it to him. He gave it right back.

The puck came into the offensive zone, and Trenin outworked Pionk along the goal line for the puck. He cut the middle and roofed it over Hellebuyck, making it 2-1 Avalanche. Trenin immediately put his hand up to his ears and jumped into the boards. He obviously knew what they were cheering.

Less than 60 seconds, Miles Wood took a bad penalty in the offensive zone, and Josh Morrissey made him pay, one-timing a puck past Georgiev to tie the game.

Georgiev was really strong the rest of the period, including a glove save on Monahan late in the second, but Colorado took the lead on one of the goofiest goals of the season.

Casey Mittelstadt delayed entering the offensive zone, hitting Lehkonen late. Lehkonen’s shot was blocked, but it went straight to Pionk’s stick. The Jets defenseman didn’t stop the puck, but rather tipped it into his own net, giving Colorado the 3-2 lead. Does that count as two goals on the night for Lehkonen, who has scored in every game this series?

Third Period

Period three didn’t start the way the Avalanche wanted, but it sure did finish the right way. Just 2:06 in, the Jets caught Nikolai Kovalenko off the rush and got him mixed up, with Ehlers dropping it to Toffoli. The veteran winger skated right into the slot and beat Georgiev on the blocker side, tying the game at three.

That’s about as good a chance as the Jets got the rest of the game.

Everyone has been waiting for Mikko Rantanen to make his mark on the series, and in the third period, he did just that. Two minutes after Toffoli tied it, with the crowd buzzing, Rantanen planted his body in front of the net, tipping home a Devon Toews shot and giving Colorado the lead. This came just a few shifts after he snapped his stick in half late in the second period. Guess the new stick worked.

Four minutes later, Nathan MacKinnon put the dagger through the hearts of Jets fans. He tipped the puck past Morrissey at the point, creating a two-on-one. Even though he wasn’t really in a dangerous spot to shoot, any goaltender has to respect his shot, so Hellebuyck didn’t cheat. MacKinnon fed it over to Rantanen, who one-timed his second of the game home. The crowd was dead, and so was the team.

From that point on, the Avalanche shut things down. The Jets really didn’t do much offensively, as Colorado kept them to the outside. Josh Manson added an empty netter, sealing the game and giving Colorado the 6-3 win.

The Avalanche will now await the winner of the Dallas/Vegas series, and with that series going at least six, they’ll get a few days to rest.

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

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