The Colorado Avalanche dropped a 6-4 decision to the Minnesota Wild, with the final goal being an empty netter.
On the plus side, the Colorado Avalanche got their superstud rookie, Cale Makar, back. On the bad side, the (hated) Minnesota Wild spoiled his return by scoring three unanswered goals (the last an empty netter) to beat the Avs.
You hate to see it. You just hate to see that team beating the Avalanche, especially here in Colorado.
But let’s focus on the positive for a moment — Cale is back. Now, I’d like to have seen the coaching staff ease Makar back in just a little bit, but instead they gave him the most ice time of anyone on the team — 23:23. He was back to running point on the first power play unit.
Unfortunately, Colorado didn’t score on the two power plays they had. Not that it was Makar’s fault, but that did hurt their chances at winning the game.
Makar had said before the game he was just hoping to shake the rust off in the first couple shifts before getting back into his game. He missed eight games after that rat, Brad Marchand, checked him hard in Boston.
Anyway, Makar did quickly shake off the rust. He had two shots on goal and a hit. What’s more, he even recorded a point — an assist on Nathan MacKinnon’s goal!
A little more good news — Makar is still in the Calder race. More on that in a separate post, but missing eight games didn’t definitively cost him the rookie of the year trophy.
Well, the Colorado Avalanche are finally healthy, and they “celebrated” by losing to our most hated team at home. But at least we got Cale back.
- The Minnesota Wild had a disallowed goal called because Ryan Suter was too slow getting off the ice. Sound familiar? Yeah, Altitude color announcer Peter McNab has a nickname for that situation:
Yeah, I’d rather have that third period, Game 7 goal back even though this one worked in our favor.
- Makar’s assist came on a weird goal from Nathan MacKinnon. The puck “deflected off” his skate before beating Devan Dubnyk:
Sure was convenient how MacKinnon’s skate just happened to angle that way the moment the puck hit it. 🤷 Especially since a goal got disallowed for a “distinct kicking motion” in a game last week. 🤷 Didn’t help the Avs any.
- Nazem Kadri must be a superhero in the referees’ eyes. He got hauled down by the neck by Ryan “You speared my hot dog” Hartman late in the third period. The refs called Hartman for holding but also called Kadri for embellishment. How was Nazem supposed to stay upright when Hartman hauled him down with a steer hold we’ll be seeing at the rodeo in a couple weeks?
- Kadri also got a game misconduct for arguing with the refs.
- Officiating was especially bad tonight, a lot in Minnesota’s favor. At the end of the game, the entire Pepsi Center crowd was chanting, “Refs you suck!” before booing them off the ice.
I observed in my preview post that Colorado struggles with the post-Christmas games. Counting tonight, they’ve failed to win their last seven post-Christmas games. The best they did was an overtime loss in 2015. I didn’t go any farther back because I’m pretty sure that 7-2 beatdown by the Hawks was the inspiration for captain Gabriel Landeskog’s “It must have been too much Christmas cookies” comment.
Ah, well, the Colorado Avalanche don’t have much time to dwell on tonight’s loss. They’re expected in Dallas tomorrow for a 5:00 PM MT game.