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Recap: Avalanche fall in shootout to Rangers

Mar 28, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) controls the puck ahead of New York Rangers left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) in the first period at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight’s game saw two of the top teams in the entire NHL face off. Ultimately, the Colorado Avalanche would fall to the New York Rangers who won 3-2 in the shootout.

Let’s take a look back at all the action from tonight.

First Period

Despite the score being 0-0 by the end of this period, it was far from boring overall. There were incredibly stout defensive efforts this period from both teams, and both clubs combined for just 12 shots in total this period as a result of said defensive effort.

There were a handful of high-quality changes exchanged on both ends, but both Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev stood strong throughout the period as well. Hence, the donuts would be on the board looking to be taken off.

Second Period

Throughout the first half of this period, both teams were putting on a defensive and goaltending clinic. The tempo certainly went from one to ten quickly during this period. Chances continued to be exchanged on both ends, but a continuous stout defensive effort from both teams and stellar goaltending resulted in the score remaining 0-0.

At one point, Shesterkin found Artemi Panarin on a clean breakaway heading towards the Avalanche net. However, Georgiev would stop Panarin and keep the score tied at zero.

Finally, after nearly two periods worth of play, Casey Mittelstadt would break the ice at the 19:27 mark. This play initially starts in Colorado’s own zone. The Avs were pressuring a bit in New York’s defensive zone to begin with, and the puck would come out to the neutral zone where Brandon Duhaime and Samuel Girard were both waiting to corral it. Duhaime would pass the puck off to Girard in Colorado’s defensive zone, and Girard would pass it off to Josh Manson. Duhaime then would go flying into the offensive zone down the wing, and Manson would find him coming into the zone. From there, Duhaime would just bull his way deep into the Rangers zone and take his defender with him. Mittelstadt somehow found himself all alone heading in towards the New York net, Duhaime had the presence of mind to find him, and Mittelstadt managed to rip the puck past Shesterkin to make it 1-0.

Third Period

Much like the last matchup between these two clubs from February 5, the Rangers would tie the game at one at the 2:59 mark. Kaapo Kakko would be the one to find the equalizer. New York would start this play by pressuring in the Colorado zone. Kakko initially took a couple of whacks at the puck, to begin with, and eventually, he ended up behind the Avalanche net. The puck would bounce back to Kakko behind the net, and he would bank the puck off of Georgiev’s back and into the net.

The Rangers would then take a 2-1 lead on a power play goal. At the 9:35 mark, Chris Kreider would get the go-ahead goal for New York. Panarin would start this play by throwing a wrist shot towards the net. Both Kreider and Vincent Trocheck were camped in front of the Colorado net. The puck would bounce off of Trocheck and Kreider would tuck it into an empty net. The Avs would challenge the goal for a hand pass, as it looked like the puck might have gone off of Trocheck’s glove before the goal, but the call on the ice ultimately stood.

Then, at the 12:47 mark, Devon Toews would find the equalizer for Colorado. This goal would start with Nathan MacKinnon managing to keep possession of the puck with multiple New York players on him deep in the zone. He would give it up to Devon Toews at the top of the zone, who would unleash a one-timer towards the net. It looked like Mikko Rantanen was the one who ultimately scored, but it was ultimately determined that the puck went in off of a Rangers player and into the net. We’ll see if that gets changed, but for the moment it looks like MacKinnon’s point streak ends at 35 games.

Overtime and Shootout

This overtime period looked identical to the entirety of regulation in this game. High-quality chances were exchanged on both ends of the ice, but ultimately we’d go to a shootout to determine the outcome of this game. Ultimately, it would be the Rangers who would win in the shootout.

Yeti Takeaways

Losing games like this is weird, they just are. Specifically, losing For all of regulation and overtime, there’s close to nothing to nitpick with Colorado’s game. If you play a playoff game like that, and your goalie plays like that and we’ll get to Georgiev in a moment, you’re going to be just fine, and that’s the reality of that. Georgiev was arguably probably one of the best players for Colorado tonight. His reputation hasn’t quite been up to snuff this season, but he went toe-to-toe with Shesterkin tonight, who is arguably one of the best goaltenders in the entire NHL. And he ended the night with a .920 save percentage. Against a team like the Rangers, you’ll take that performance, no questions asked. If that is the play that you get out of your goaltender going down the stretch, again, you’re going to be just fine and that’s the reality of the situation.

It sucks that MacKinnon’s home-point streak seemingly comes to an end tonight, but in theory it could be changed. Not to take away from Toews, but if the goal was determined to be an own goal by New York, which is why there are no assists on it currently, then why does Toews get credited with the goal at all? It could get changed tomorrow in theory, but in my mind, either it should be a true own-goal where New York themselves are the goal scorers and no Colorado players get credited, or if you credit it to Toews, give people the primary and secondary assists because Colorado players assisted on that goal. There is also an argument to be had that Rantanen should be credited with the goal too because it initially looked like he was the one who tucked it home. Obviously, we don’t know what will happen, but there’s a possibility that it will be changed, at least in theory.

Either way, we’ll see what tomorrow brings and if it gets changed. Hockey can be stupid and onto the next.

Next on the Mountain

The Avalanche finish their five-game homestand with a matinee matchup against the Nashville Predators on Saturday. The puck drops at 4:00 p.m. MST.

Talking Points