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Colorado Avalanche

Wood Completes Comeback With OT Winner, Avalanche Take Game One

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If rest is a weapon, the Colorado Avalanche used it to their advantage in Game One on Tuesday night.

After a slow start, Colorado put their foot on the gas, dominating the majority of the final 51 minutes and limiting what the Stars could do. Dallas might have gotten off to a 3-0 start, but for the third time this season, the Avalanche came from behind in the Stars building to win the game. In overtime, the Stars bounced back, but Alexandar Georgiev saved his best for the extra period, making a few huge saves to keep the game going. A simple chip out sprung Miles Wood on a break, who burst past Miro Heiskanen and beat Jake Oettinger, giving the Avalanche the game one victory.

Valeri Nichushkin, Nathan MacKinnon, and Cale Makar scored the other goals for Colorado, while Georgiev made 19 saves in net.

First Period

It could have been the adrenaline of the situation, but the Avalanche came out skating with the Stars, despite having a week off.

Soon after, the rust started to show. Then, the frustration.

At 7:26, Colorado failed to clear the puck out of their own end, and Matt Duchene sent it to an empty side of the ice. Ryan Suter corralled it, and then took his time, allowing a screen to set up. Once that screen set up, he sent a wrister through to the net, which escaped everyone, including Georgiev, making it 1-0 Stars.

That was just the beginning. A little over three minutes later, Artturi Lehkonen missed an exit pass, leading to an icing on the Avalanche. On the ensuing face-off, Jamie Benn beat Casey Mittelstadt cleanly. Joe Pavelski tapped it to Wyatt Johnston, the Stars top scorer, who let a quick shot go. It didn’t look terribly dangerous, but it deflected off Cale Makar past Georgiev, making it 2-0.

Right about here is when the frustration set in. At one point, Devon Toews took a stick up high that went uncalled, which might explain their frustration with some of the upcoming calls. Mikko Rantanen, while leaving the ice, tripped up Evgeni Dadonov, giving the Stars the first powerplay of the night. 28 seconds into that powerplay, Yakov Trenin caught Jason Robertson with a stick up high, giving the Stars a two-man advantage. Robertson definitely sold the call, but the stick got his helmet, so not much you can do about that.

Dallas took advantage, which is what good teams do on a 5-on-3. Robertson’s shot bounced off Jamie Benn and in, making it 3-0 for the home team. Another Rantanen penalty late gave them a third powerplay, and Benn nearly made it 4-0, but Josh Manson stopped the puck right at the goal line with around five seconds left, keeping it 3-0 heading into the intermission.

Second Period

It’s fair to say the Avalanche shook off whatever rust they had in the intermission, because they came out in the second a completely different team.

It didn’t hurt that they got a few powerplays to get some momentum going, with the first coming early in the period.

With Evgeni Dadonov in the box, the Avalanche needed just 13 seconds to get on the board. Wyatt Johnston broke his stick off the face-off, giving Colorado more of an advantage. Cale Makar nearly lost the puck, but because it was Johnston covering him, he was able to pick it back up, sending a shot towards Oettinger. He made the initial save, but the puck bounced around and found none other than Valeri Nichushkin at the side of the net, who sent it top shelf to make it 3-1. Nichushkin has scored in every single playoff game so far for the Avalanche.

A few minutes later, Nichushkin drew a penalty driving the net, and Cale Makar did what Cale Makar does. Roope Hintz had a rush the other way, but Makar got back to slow him down, and Hintz turned the puck back over. Nichushkin hit a late arriving Makar, who sent a screened shot over Oettinger’s glove, cutting the Stars lead to one.

Colorado kept pushing, but couldn’t find the equalizer before the end of the second. A MacKinnon post was as close as they would get, setting up a big third period.

Third Period

It didn’t take long at all for this game to get tied up.

39 seconds into the period, a Cale Makar shot hit Mikko Rantanen’s backside, bouncing right to a wide open MacKinnon, who shot the puck into an empty cage, tying the game at three. Slowly but surely, Dallas’ lead was gone, something the Avalanche have done on many occasions this year. They’re never out of a game, even if they start slow.

The rest of the period was super low event. Colorado only surrendered four shots on net, while the Stars only gave up six. The closest Colorado came to taking the lead was a Rantanen shot off the face-off that hit the crossbar. Roope Hintz missed the net on a great rush late in the period, but this game wasn’t meant to end in regulation. For the first this postseason, the Avalanche would head to overtime.

Overtime

The star of overtime was Alexandar Georgiev.

Colorado’s netminder made several huge saves in the extra period, as the Stars controlled most of the play after being held to just seven shots on net over the last two periods. Tyler Seguin couldn’t beat the stretched out leg of Georgiev on a cross-ice pass, and then Wyatt Johnston was stopped all alone in front to keep the game going.

It just takes one shot, though. After an extended shift in the defensive zone, Andrew Cogliano flipped the puck out into the neutral zone, giving Miles Wood the opportunity to catch up to it. In any race, I’m taking Wood over the competition, and he won this one, beating Heiskanen to the puck. Wood raced in, and with Oettinger backing into his net, beat him on the backhand, giving the Avalanche the Game One victory.

Colorado will likely take tomorrow off after going to extra time, and Game Two takes place on Thursday night at 7:30 PM MST.

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