Today marks the second anniversary of one of the Colorado Avalanche’s most significant Game 82s in team history.
The Colorado Avalanche have played in 22 Game 82s. But even those of us who’ve been Avs fans from the beginning only really remember one Game 82.
It happened on April 7, 2018. They played at Pepsi Center. And it was such an important game because whomever won got to go to the playoffs. The opponent was the St. Louis Blues.
That’s why we remember it so clearly. No other Game 82 that I can remember carried such significance. Either the team had clinched or been eliminated in previous final games of the season.
And this chance to make the playoffs came after the Dreadful 48-Point Season, the one where the Avs had been eliminated for weeks before Game 82 ever came around.
I was at that game — I always go to the final home game of the season. But I wouldn’t have missed this one for the world regardless. We all walked in with so much anticipation. The feeling in Pepsi Center was electric for the first time in a long time.
Before the game started the in-game arena staff played this video on Pepsi Vision:
I get chills just watching it. All those memories from that great season!
As we know, of course, the Avalanche won the game 5-2. They went on to play the Nashville Predators with a makeshift lineup. They lost in Game 6, but that doesn’t really matter now.
Game 82 was the goal — like Nathan MacKinnon says in the video above, to make the playoffs was the goal. And they did it.
The goal scorers that night were Samuel Girard. Tyson Barrie, Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Matthew Nieto. And, hey, since we’re in a remembering mood, let’s take a moment to celebrate all those goals.
Watch this Girard slapshot:
Oh, yeah, just 45 seconds left in the period! Our tiny, unemotional defenseman wasn’t unemotional that night!
Nathan MacKinnon, our Irish sniper:
That just happens to be the game-winning goal.
Our captain put us up 4-1 late in the third period:
That one seemed to take the life out of St. Louis, even though they’d score one more. I’m pretty sure I went light-headed screaming over that goal.
Nieto just added insult to injury with his empty-netter:
That’s just rude, Matt.
I purposefully left Barrie’s goal for last even though it was the second of the game:
It’s not noticeable here, but earlier in the play the puck might have come out of the zone, meaning everyone was offside:
— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) April 8, 2018
It’s inconclusive, and the goal counted. I think it was a little payback from earlier in the season when the referees got a call so wrong, one that disallowed a game-tying goal, that the NHL apologized the next day. Without Barrie’s goal above, maybe the game doesn’t go Colorado’s way.
But the game did go Colorado’s way. And we got to see one of the best goal celebrations in recent history:
— DNVR Avalanche (@DNVR_Avalanche) April 7, 2020
Mikko Rantanen’s bunny hop onto the pile is what makes this celebration.
The team, of course, made it all about the fans:
Hey Avalanche fans,
Take a second.
Enjoy this moment.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) April 8, 2018
Because that’s when we were all pretty sure the Colorado Avalanche were going to the playoffs.
Today, of course, is the second anniversary of that memorable Game 82. Here we are, on the hockey hiatus, not sure if we’ll have a Game 82 this season — and thinking more and more every day we won’t. So, let’s just remember the one from two years ago when we were in a different world.
What was your favorite memory from that night?