So, following their tough 3-2 loss in Game Seven to the Sharks, the Avalanche received plenty of love on Twitter. They deserved it.
Even though they lost the very competitive second round series to a determined Sharks, who got a heroic performance from leader Joe Pavelski (goal, assist) in his return, the Avalanche proved to everyone that they’re not going away anytime soon. With a bright future surrounding the franchise who last won a Stanley Cup in 2001, they’re gonna be a force to be reckoned with.
Featuring top five superstar Nathan MacKinnon along with gifted Mikko Rantanen, who played through injury, and emotional leader Gabriel Landeskog, they have an unbelievable top line that can scare opponents. Just ask the Sharks and fans like my forever friend Jen how they felt as Colorado applied the pressure in the third period last night. They outshot San Jose 15-2 with Tyson Jost scoring early on to make it 3-2.
Martin Jones faced a lot of dangerous scoring chances. He made some spectacular saves in crunch time with Colorado pulling starter Phiipp Grubauer for an extra attacker. The Avalanche tried some tricky deflections off good passes that Jones swallowed up. That included getting a piece of a Rantanen redirection to force it wide. He also made two saves on another try.
Considering how poorly he played in the first four games against the Golden Knights last round, Jones has been money since. He was a little better than Grubauer in a series that developed into a lower scoring, physical encounter. Full credit to him for stepping up. He also got a bit lucky when a Colorado goal was overturned on a good Sharks offside challenge. Landeskog did not change quick enough to negate an apparent tying goal that would’ve made it 2-2. Instead, it stayed 2-1 until Joonas Donskoi tallied the series winner that gave San Jose just enough of a margin to hold on.
After the handshakes, I posted a complementary tweet on the Avalanche. A team that will be heard from soon. I didn’t expect a response.
Pretty cool. On the NBCSN postgame, studio analyst Keith Jones said that the Sharks won’t beat the Avalanche again next year. I agree. They’re here to stay.
With the emergence of J.T. Compher along with other young players like Jost, Alex Kerfoot, and early 2020 Calder favorite Cale Makar, they’re set up really well. Before even playing a regular season game, Makar stepped in from winning the Hobey Baker by putting up a goal and five assists in 10 postseason games. He made so many good reads including the one that resulted in Landeskog scoring the overtime winner in Game Six.
Colorado will boast the best right side in hockey next season in Tyson Barrie, Erik Johnson and Makar. They also have the number four pick from the Senators in next month’s Draft. They’re only going to get better.
With some time off for Rantanen and MacKinnon to recover from injuries, the Avalanche will be back next year. It really could spell the end for the rest of their division that includes Nashville, Winnipeg and St. Louis, who will play San Jose for a chance to reach the Stanley Cup Final starting on Saturday.
For experienced teams who have been knocking on the door, it could signal the changing of the guard. The message to the Blues and Sharks is clear. Win while you have a chance now. You might not get it again.