The Colorado Avalanche aren’t letting go their playoff hopes that easily. Last night they defeated Vegas Golden Knights at Pepsi Center with 4-3, and improved their situation before the crucial game of the season against the Arizona Coyotes.
Jared Bednar, Colorado’s coach, was very pleased with the performance of his team, saying that the triumph eased the pressure of his players a little bit, even though this game is not important as the upcoming one.
“That’s a big win,” Avalanche coach said. “Friday, regardless of if we won or lost tonight, that’s a big game, a huge game. If we can win that game, we put ourselves in a good spot.”
— Mike Chambers (@MikeChambers) March 28, 2019
Home team imposed their tempo of play right from the start, and managed to close the first period with a 2-0 lead, which turned out to be a key factor for the rest of the game.
Matt Calvert brought the lead to the hosts, after 5:39 into the game, while Nathan MacKinnon doubled that some three minutes after. It was his 39th goal of the season, and it came on a power-play
The third one came with 7:18 into the second sequence and the executor was Tyson Barrie. At that moment, all the spectators at Pepsi Center thought that this game might end with a blowout. But the visitors from Nevada didn’t allow that to happen.
Paul Stastny and Reilly Smith both scored in the span of some four minutes during the middle of the second period and brought back Golden Knights into the game.
Luckily for the Avalanche, Gabriel Bourque was there to stop their surge and to bring back the balance of power on the ice. He scored the second goal of the season for 4-2.
Alex Tuch’s score with some three and a half minutes before the end once again gave a chance for the Golden Knights to leave Colorado undefeated. That didn’t happen, and the home team’s defense held out.
The player of the game was no doubt Avalanche defenseman, Barrie. The 27-year old finished this event with a goal and two assists, and was the force which game energy to the home team in last night’s meeting. This was his 100th win in the NHL.
— Hockey Daily (@HockeyDaily365) March 28, 2019
During the post-match interview, he stressed out that his team doesn’t have too much time to celebrate, as they have another big challenge coming up soon. Though, he is happy with these two points.
“It’s a huge two points for us,” Barrie stated. “We know we needed this one and we have another huge one against Arizona on Friday. It’s a quick turnaround. We’ve just got to put this one behind us.”
The game against the Coyotes is a season finale for this team. At the moment, Colorado has 83 points, two more than Arizona, who is chasing Bednar’s team and the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Avalanche also have a chance, if everything goes well, to pressure Dallas Stars who are three points in front of them and maybe make a run for the third place in the Central Division.
Tyson Barrie was on to something when he said the @Avalanche haven't played to their potential yet. He's scored 5 goals in their last 6 games, including his 73rd regular-season career goal– the most by a defenseman in team history. pic.twitter.com/AKsIqVu6DM
— Julia Maguire (@JuliaMaguire_) March 28, 2019
The clash between these two sides will take place this Friday, and the good thing for Colorado is that they have a home court advantage.
When looking at the current form of the teams, we can see that Avalanche enters the contest in a much better mood, with five wins over the latest six events.
Meanwhile, the situation is totally the opposite with the Coyotes, who have only one win during the same stretch. This Monday, Arizona managed to snap a five-game losing skid against the Chicago Blackhawks with a minimal win at home, 1-0.
Overall, Colorado has nice chances to almost secure the wild-card position, and even to improve it. But they have to be 100% focused on the next match.
Though the Coyotes might look vulnerable and hurt at the moment, those kinds of rivals are the most dangerous one, because they have nothing to lose.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.