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Recap: Avalanche rocket past Blue Jackets

Mar 22, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) and Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Alexander Nylander (92) battle for the puck in the first period at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

All good things must come to an end, and tonight, the exact opposite was true. The Colorado Avalanche won their eighth game in a row by a final score of 6-1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Let’s break down all the action from tonight!

First Period

Just 4:28 into the first period, Damon Severson would break the ice, no pun intended, for Columbus. The Blue Jackets would get some time in their offensive zone to start this play. Johnny Gaudreau would pass the puck in front of the Avalanche net for Severson to try and hit him on a back-door tap-in play. The puck would ultimately miss Severson’s stick ever so slightly, take a couple of funny bounces, go off of his skate, and into the back of the net. You probably want a save there, but when the puck goes in on a bit of a weird play like that, what are you gonna do?

As annoying as it might be at times to watch this Avalanche roster attempt Harlem Globetrotters-esque plays during a game instead of simply putting pucks toward the net when it works, boy does it ever work. At the 11:00 mark in this period, Cale Makar would tie the game for Colorado. His goal came off of an incredibly pretty passing play that Jonathan Drouin and Artturi Lehkonen executed to set up Makar. This play properly started in Colorado’s zone. Alexandar Georgiev would corral a puck and send it up the boards to Drouin. Drouin would then come flying into the offensive zone with Lehkonen not far behind him. Drouin would drop the puck off to Lehkonen, who would execute a one-touch pass to Makar, who at that point came in flying down the wing, and would beat Elvis Merzlikins.

Second Period

Hard work usually gets rewarded, and that’s exactly what this goal was. At the 5:43 mark, Ross Colton would give the Avs a 2-1 lead. Zach Parise would start by working this puck along the boards and shooting it toward the net. Merzlikins would make the initial save on Parise, but both Colton and Miles Wood were parked in front of the Columbus net. Both of them took a couple of whacks at it, but it would ultimately be Colton who would bang the puck home.

Mikko Rantanen would also get in on the fun before the period ended. At the 7:07 period, Rantanen would tip the puck through the five-hole to extend Colorado’s lead to 3-1. This play would start with Samuel Girard and Josh Manson playing catch at the top of the offensive zone. Girard would start by passing the puck to Manson, who threw it toward the net. Rantanen had found some space right in front of the net at that point, and he would execute a good deflection to extend the lead.

Later in this period, it looked like Columbus might’ve pulled within one on a weird goal that saw the puck end up on the top of the Colorado net, and then take a couple of weird bounces into the net. However, it was determined that the puck was played by a hand pass, so it came off the board and the score remained 3-1 in Colorado’s favor going into the third period.

Third Period

Nathan MacKinnon is an absolute monster, is there really anything else to say about this goal? Actually, there is a little bit more to say about this goal. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but this play starts, once again, in Colorado’s zone. At the 6:01 mark, the Blue Jackets initially attempted to work the puck into the Avalanche end. Makar would force a turnover and immediately get Colorado going the other way. At this point, MacKinnon was back over heading toward the offensive zone, and Makar found him with a stretch pass. MacKinnon would get a breakaway, and we know how that movie ends.

Not too long after, Rantanen would net his second of the night at the 7:14 mark. This was another goal that came on a really pretty passing play. On a power play, MacKinnon would send the puck across the ice to Rantanen on a fake one-timer shot-pass. Rantanen would bury the puck, extending the lead to 5-1 in Colorado’s favor.

At this point, the floodgates had officially opened for the Avs and there was no closing them. At the 13:28 mark, Valeri Nichushkin would get in on the action. Rantanen would be the one to start this play by carrying the puck into the offensive zone on what looked like a 3-on-2 break. Rantanen would pass the puck off to Casey Mittelstadt, who would find Nichushkin with a cross-ice pass. Nichushkin would then just bull his way past a Blue Jackets player toward the front of the net, and he made no mistake for a final score of 6-1.

Yeti Takeaways

While there’s a lot of action in this game, there’s just not a lot to say at the end of the day. Not in a bad way, in fact, the exact opposite. This win was just not that complicated at the end of the day, the Avs went out and they took care of business against a team that they were supposed to take care of business against. Rantanen had another two goals, and MacKinnon extended his home-point streak as well.

To touch on goaltending quickly, Georgiev was absolutely more than fine tonight. Would you like a save on the first goal? Sure, you absolutely would. But when the only goal that your goaltender gives up is one that takes a weird bounce and happens to end up in your net, you live with that. Bounces like that happen all the time in this sport, that’s just the reality of it. Georgiev locked it down when the game was still competitive, and throughout the back half of it, ultimately ending up with a .958 save percentage on the night.

He only ended up with an assist on the score sheet tonight, but Girard played really well tonight as well. He had a couple of really good scoring chances, along with a stellar defensive play during this game that stood out. That play ultimately singlehandedly prevented what would have otherwise been a grade-A scoring chance for Columbus. Girard’s play tonight on the whole was awesome, and he absolutely deserves recognition for it.

Next on the Mountain

Colorado looks to continue their winning ways when the Pittsburgh Penguins come to town for a matinee matchup on March 24. The puck drops at 12:00 p.m. MT nationally televised on TNT.

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