The Colorado Avalanche found a way to win in Game 6. They will be tested in Game 7, but at least we will have that game. And maybe more.
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We here in Avs Nation will be lucky enough to get one more game at least of Colorado Avalanche hockey. They won Game 6 against the Dallas Stars, so the series is now even at three each.
It was touch-and-go there for a minute. It could easily have not been that result. Colorado won the game 4-1, but there was a lot of sloppy hockey in there.
The game started with the Stars coming out on the attack. It was clear they wanted to end this series today and await the winner of the Vegas-Vancouver game. And, in that first period, Colorado seemed willing to give it to them. The Stars quickly started putting more shots on goal, and they eventually went up 1-0. What’s more, it was a soft goal on Michael Hutchinson, in for the unfit Pavel Francouz who was in for the unfit Philipp Grubauer.
And then the Avalanche pulled a Dallas Stars and scored four straight to win the game. I’d say you hate to see the Avs feed them their own medicine, but the truth is you know we all love to see it.
Defenseman Nikita Zadorov’s long hair seems to have turned him in to Samson. He started the scoring for the Avalanche with just 32 seconds left in the first period. That goal was his third of this playoffs. And it was the one that seemed to put the dagger in their heart.
One player seemed to really impose his will on the game, and for a change it wasn’t Nathan MacKinnon. Miro Heiskenan scored the lone goal for Dallas, and our “consolation prize” didn’t seem to like that. Cale Makar scored the game-winning goal midway through the game. But he did so much more than that. He’s no offensive defenseman — he’s an everything defenseman. He didn’t just knock Stars players off the puck, he knocked them off their feet on many occasions. For such a sweet young boy, he can be a pest on the ice.
Mikko Rantanen… has looked weird in these playoffs. I don’t know if his core strength is giving out again — relatively speaking, of course. He has the core strength of one of Erik Johnson’s horses, I’m sure. However, he hasn’t been strong on his skates. He’ll look downright ineffective… and then he’ll go and do the dirty like he did today. He scored the backup dagger, the third goal for Colorado early in the third period.
By this time, both teams were having fits and starts. The Dallas Stars genuinely looked like the better team for parts of the game. However, they also took four straight penalties, including a double minor. Then again, the Avalanche failed to capitalize on any of them, so there’s that.
In the end, you can’t argue with the score. Nathan MacKinnon did Nate Dogg things to make the score 4-1 with under three minutes to go. Michael Hutchinson, in only his second-ever career playoff start, stopped 27 of 28 shots for a .964% save percentage. And the win.
The bad news is that the injury bug still likes the taste of Avalanche blood, in this case literally blood. Captain Gabriel Landeskog fell victim to friendly fire when one of his teammates’ skate blades clipped him above the knee pad. Those blades are sharp, and this one cut Landeskog:
As you can see, he left the ice. He did return, but just to sit on the bench in that ominous way Erik Johnson did.
Also, rookie defenseman Conor Timmins took a hit from Stars forward Andrew Cogliano. His head hit the glass, and he left the game. He has been deemed unfit to play, and I am not going to say anything more because I will be screaming into the void.
Game 7 will be on Friday. At the time of writing, the game had not been scheduled. The Colorado Avalanche have the momentum. Will it be enough to overcome their injury woes? We all hope so. They are the team that deserve to move on to the third round.