The Colorado Avalanche showed they’re more than a one-dimensional team when they beat the Arizona Coyotes with depth and fortitude.
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The Colorado Avalanche are the owners of a shiny new playoff win. They took their first game in the first-round series against the Arizona Coyotes. And, while the score midway through the third period didn’t reflect it, they did so in dominating fashion.
Indeed, the Avalanche didn’t record a goal until more than halfway through the third period. However, the total shots on goal tell of a much more lopsided story. By the end of the first period, Colorado had outshot Arizona 13-3. By the end of the second, they’d made the differential 28-7. They finished the game outshooting the Coyotes 40-14, which marks the first time in franchise history they’ve held an opponent to under 15 shots in a postseason game.
When Nazem Kadri finally got one past Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper, we all though the Avs were on shot 1,000 or so. Kadri alone matched all of the Coyotes shot for shot for most of the game. He had a total of seven on the game — half as many as the whole Arizona team!
Right there shows a lot of fortitude. The Avalanche players could have gotten disheartened. Kuemper was doing his best impression of a brick wall. They kept peppering him with shots, and he turned away every single one.
Until Kadri opened the floodgates on a very weird-looking goal:
The “shot” — it was more of a karate chop with his stick — caught Kuemper flat on his backside and unable to see much less stop the puck. Like I always say, though, ugly goals count for the same as pretty ones.
We were still in the middle of celebrating that goal — and not-Adam-Roach hadn’t even announced the goal yet — when JT Compher got in on the scoring. Just 10 seconds after Kadri solved Kuemper, Compher banged one home through traffic. In fact, the goal happened so fast on the heels of the first, that some Avs fans thought it was a replay of Kadri’s goal!
Well, Mikko Rantanen didn’t want to be left out. He took his time — a whole 1:13 — before adding to the score with a pretty goal:
It was a Mikko special.
He certainly looked a lot better scoring that goal than he looked earlier in the game when he tripped his own captain and sent him careening into superstar Nathan MacKinnon:
He and captain Gabriel Landeskog seemed to be channeling their 48-point season selves. Although from this angle it resembles ice dancing:
Well, a little hilarity for posterity. And, like I said, they showed fortitude. They were in the middle of shellacking a brick wall, and then they couldn’t even get out of their own way. A period later, one of them would take a big hit — from an opponent this time — so the other one could score.
You’ll notice that our superstar wasn’t one of the goal scorers. He did record two points, an assist each on Kadri’s and Rantanen’s goals. However, our MVP was held shotless yesterday.
That’s ok. The Arizona Coyotes were focusing a lot of their defense on MacKinnon. It’s part of the reason they recorded so few shots. And it’s part of the reason the other Avs were able to barrage Kuemper and eventually get three in.
Depth. Colorado finally has depth.
The Colorado Avalanche can take a lot of positives from yesterday’s win. And, you know, they can take the win. One W accomplished out of Mission 16W. Just 15 more to go. They can get a jump on that tomorrow afternoon.