From down 3-1 to tying the series 3-3, the Colorado Avalanche have evened the playing field with a 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars in Game 6. Game 7 will be the be all end all of the series, but lets breakdown this game before we get to game 7.
While the last game was an onslaught of offense favoring the Avalanche, this one was as even as you can get. Shots were 13-13 and the tense atmosphere of an elimination loomed. Dallas struck first after Miro Heiskanen fires a puck through Michael Hutchinson‘s glove to get on the board. 1-0 Stars.
The Avalanche were quickly looking to respond to that goal and that they did. Nikita Zadorov shoots the puck on net and goes through Anton Khudobin to tie it up with less than 30 seconds on the clock. 1-1 Tie.
The second period was chippy hockey at its finest. Hits galore from as far as the eye can see.
Cale Makar continuing to showcase why he is a favorite to win the Calder Memorial Trophy. A well placed shot high over the blocker side to give the Avalanche the go-ahead goal. 2-1 Avalanche.
The second period however ended on a downer for the Avalanche. Captain Gabriel Landeskog left the game near the end of the period, after suffering an accidental cut from Cale Makar’s skate.
The third period rolls around and without Landeskog on the bench, it is already a huge blow for Colorado. Without the 3rd part of their top line, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen decide to still make absolute sorcery. A beautiful feed from MacKinnon to Rantanen for the insurance goal, the goal is so beautiful that words cannot describe. Take a look below. 3-1 Avalanche.
After some physical hits and bumps were thrown throughout the period, Landeskog returns to the bench after being assessed by team doctors. He did try and take a skate to see how his knee felt but ultimately, decided not to take the ice for the remaining of the game.
Nathan MacKinnon seals the deal with an empty-net goal, followed by a massive scrap between Nikita Zadorov and Mattias Janmark. 10-minute misconducts were issued to both men after the goal and with that, that’s the game!
Final Score: Colorado Avalanche 4, Dallas Stars 1. Series tied 3-3
3 Stars of the Game:
1st Star: Michael Hutchinson: .964 Sv% (27/28 Saves)
2nd Star: Nathan MacKinnon: 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist)
3rd Star: Mikko Rantanen: 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist)
Game 7 is going to be a tough matchup for both teams. For Dallas, the pressure is on full blast. After all, this team led the series 3-1 and led convincingly after game 4. The stakes are high for Dallas as they look to go to their first Western Conference final since the 2008-09 season.
For the Colorado Avalanche, even more so pressured than Dallas. They were in this exact same spot last season, and if not for a very close review call could have been going to the Conference finals. This year with a team vastly stronger than last year many believe this team to be legitimate Stanley Cup Contenders.
Also, the amount of injuries has been crucial. No Grubauer, no Johnson, and no Landeskog? The depth needs to step up in a huge way like what we saw in games 5 and 6.
As far as who starts for each team? Expect both goalies from game 6 to get the call. Khudobin has been the rock that’s kept the Stars in amid Ben Bishop being deemed unfit to play, he is expected to be on his best game.
Michael Hutchinson is an interesting one. A guy who was bounced around several teams in his NHL career was coming off a very disappointing stint in Toronto. What we see in sports though is that heroes arise at any possible moment, and with two strong victories here, Hutchinson may find new life and confidence with the Avalanche.
Game 7 is set to go Friday September 7th from Rexall Place in Edmonton, AB.