Recap: Avalanche survive and battle past Coyotes

Mar 25, 2023 - 4:18 AM
NHL: Arizona Coyotes at <a href=Colorado Avalanche" src="" />
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Something about those pesky Arizona Coyotes.

Despite their peskiness, the Colorado Avalanche managed to pull through. A 3-1 final would just be enough with involvement in all three goals from Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar.

With the win, the Avs sit on 90 points, still in third in the Central Division, one point behind the Minnesota Wild and two behind the Dallas Stars. It’s getting really close at the top, but there's only room for one. Who will get it in the end?

First Period

Colorado was on the front foot early with MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen having an early 2-on-1 broken up. Erik Johnson also almost scored on his first shot back in the lineup.

The Avs would convert eventually on the power play. After Andrew Cogliano drew a tripping call on Victor Soderstrom, MacKinnon would convert and make his home point streak 19 games and counting.

What seemed to be a lead heading into the intermission would end up not being a lead. Clayton Keller would be let loose in the slot thanks to a defensive breakdown and put it past Alexandar Georgiev to tie it up.

Second Period

The second would be filled with Avalanche chances but no conversions. Of course, it all came after the Yotes actually led the game in shots for a short period of time.

Chances came from Alex Newhook and Cale Makar on several occasions. Makar in particular would find the crossbar on a hard shot, and then almost score an incredible goal going through every Coyote but being stopped on the goal line by Karel Vejmelka.

Third Period

Colorado really came alive in the third period. Despite Arizona holding the puck more to start and slow the game down, it wouldn’t last.

The Avs would finally convert on their chances when Makar would get one through traffic to find twine and get the lead. It was initially announced in the arena as Rantanen’s 48th goal of the year but then given back to the baby-faced assassin.

After a couple of Sam Girard blasts missed the net, Colorado would go on the power play again. J.T. Compher would clean up the rebound in front to double the lead off the pad of Vejmelka.

It would be all she wrote as the Avs just closed out the final minutes and did what they needed to do to hold off the pesky Yotes and send Ball Arena home happy.


It was not Colorado’s best night on offense, despite the win. The second period in particular was frustrating with chances galore not finding the net. Part of it came down to the heroics of Vejmelka, and also down to not taking enough shots. The Avs tried to be too cute sometimes compared to just going to the net. Regardless, it didn’t come back to hurt them in the end.

Of course, Makar and Johnson (Erik, that is) both returned to the lineup from injury for the first time. Makar didn’t skip a beat, with a goal and two assists being involved in all three goals. Johnson on the other hand had no points in 14:35 of action but had two blocks, two shots, and three hits. It was a good game for him to get back into the lineup overall, now he just needs to build on it heading into next week.

Speaking of next week, it is a massive week for the Avalanche. Of course, they see these same pesky Coyotes Sunday afternoon in the first of a back-to-back as they go to the Anaheim Ducks the next night. However, the latter part of the week is more intriguing and is circled on everyone’s calendars: visits from the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars, both ahead of Colorado in the standings. It just may determine the top three in the Central Division and be critical for how it all unfolds in April. This win tonight should be a launchpad for them to perform this next week and go streaking against the best teams at the best time.


The Avs make their final trip to the desert in the second part of a home-and-home with these same Yotes at Mullett Arena. Puck drop is on Sunday afternoon in a 1:00 p.m. matinee.

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