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Colorado Avalanche

Duchene Finishes Off Old Team, Ending Avalanche Season In Overtime




The season has come to an end for the Colorado Avalanche, and it comes at the hands of one of their former stars.

Matt Duchene, who asked out back in 2017 and eventually got his wish, finished the game off in double overtime, putting a rebound past an outstretched Alexandar Georgiev and giving the Stars the 2-1 victory over Colorado. The Avalanche owned the majority of the first two periods, but as the game went on, looked to wear down. Colorado’s top forwards played a heck of a lot more than the Stars top guys, which might have something to do with that, and it showed once overtime started.

Mikko Rantanen scored the long goal for Colorado, while Alexandar Georgiev made 36 saves, extending the game probably further than it should have gone.

First Period

For about the first 15 minutes of the game, neither team wanted to make that big mistake. Anytime either team looked like they had a good look at the net, a body got in front of the shot. Up until the final four or five minutes of the first, the shots on net were even at five a piece. Not exactly a barnburner of a hockey game, but there were chances.

Dallas’ best chance came on a point shot that bounced off the boards behind Georgiev. Evgeni Dadonov picked up the puck on his backhand, but couldn’t get enough on it to put it into the empty cage, hitting the side of the net.

The final five minutes for the Avalanche were fantastic, though. Nathan MacKinnon got it all started, bursting past Thomas Harley for a good look off the rush, but Jake Oettinger looked calm making the blocker save. A few minutes later, MacKinnon took advantage of a forward playing defense, getting past Dadonov and putting a low shot on net. That was stopped, but the rebound went to Artturi Lehkonen. It looked like his shot trickled through the legs of Oettinger from my point of view, but it somehow stayed out.

Those final few minutes of the period were clearly Colorado’s best, and gave them a 10-5 shot advantage. Unfortunately, it did not give them the lead, as the score stayed 0-0 heading into the second.

Second Period

In a game where there isn’t a ton of room or great looks out there, it helps to have an elite finisher on your side.

Enter: Mikko Rantanen.

Old friend Matt Duchene took the first penalty of the game, cross-checking Sam Girard in the offensive zone, giving the Avalanche the chance to open the scoring. It didn’t start out so hot, as Wyatt Johnston killed about 20 seconds of time by just carrying the puck around.

Then Cale Makar killed him.

The Avalanche defender had enough, and just plastered Johnston off the puck, giving Colorado possession. The powerplay got control of the puck in the offensive zone and never gave it up. It eventually moved around to Rantanen, and with time to move in, he fired a perfect shot over Oettinger’s shoulder, giving the Avalanche the 1-0 lead. The goal marked the first time Colorado had scored first this series, a baffling stat, but similar to what happened last year against Seattle.

Dallas got their first powerplay on a very avoidable penalty by Josh Manson, but Colorado was able to kill it off. Things got hairy a few times, but Georgiev was there when his team needed him to make a save.

Colorado carried that 1-0 lead into the intermission, despite being outshot 15-12.

Third Period

It didn’t take long for the Stars to tie the game up in the third period, and it came on a breakdown off the rush from Colorado.

Sean Walker pinched at the red line, and Seguin chipped the puck past him. Evgeni Dadonov caught up to the puck, and made a heads-up play to send a behind-the-back pass to Jamie Benn in the slot, who beat Georgiev on his backhand to tie the game up. Colorado had played about as well as they possibly could have for 40 minutes, but one mistake burned them.

The rest of the period was almost like a waiting game for overtime, as neither squad really budged. No more goals were scored, and we moved on to overtime.

First Overtime

This game really should have ended in the first 20 minutes of extra time, and it was all Dallas. They dominated the play, to the point where Jake Oettinger might have been bored in his net. The reality is that the game probably should have ended on a goal right off a face-off, but the refs had other ideas.

It looked like Mason Marchment had won the game off a feed from Ryan Suter, but the refs immediately blew it dead, as they claimed Matt Duchene interfered with Alexandar Georgiev. Upon review, I’m not so sure that was the case, as Cale Makar had a lot to do with the contact. The play was reviewed, but because the call on the ice was “no goal,” it would have taken a lot to overturn it, and they did not, so the game kept going.

Georgiev held his team in it, making 10 stops while his team looked like they were exhausted. That allowed them to get into the intermission and recharge just a little bit.

Second Overtime

Colorado came out a bit rejuvenated in the second overtime period, and had two chances to end it early. Zach Parise somehow wasn’t able to jam home a backhand chance early in the period, and then Artturi Lehkonen was robbed on a point-blank chance later on that Oettinger somehow got back into the net to keep out.

In the end, it had to be Matt Duchene, I guess. Almost 12 minutes into the second overtime, a scramble in front produced mayhem, and Joe Pavelski poked the puck loose to Duchene, who fired it top shelf to finish off his former team.

That was all she wrote for the 2023-24 Avalanche, who were eliminated in six games by the Dallas Stars. We’ll have a lot more to talk about this off-season, but for now, stay tuned for more post-game coverage.

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