Avalanche comeback win claims first place in Central Division


The second half of the Colorado Avalanche’s back-to-back Canadian run left much to be desired. Until a comeback 4–3 win in the third period, Colorado appeared to be slated to snap a four-game win streak.

After a shining 6–2 win over the Calgary Flames, the team was undoubtedly exhausted, and the absence of four impactful forwards immediately became noticeable against the Vancouver Canucks.

This game was the key to claiming the first-place seat in the Central Division, but the performance from the Avalanche was not living up to the standard set against the Flames.

Of course, this game was bound to be a hard-fought battle. For most of the season, Vancouver has been in the top three teams in the league. They are ten points ahead of the second-place team in the Pacific Division, the Edmonton Oilers.

The good

Josh Manson dropped the gloves against Nikita Zodorov in the second period. While he picked up a five-minute penalty for fighting, it was the first burst of energy from Colorado in the game.

Mikko Rantanen finally put the Avalanche on the board with less than three seconds to go in the second period, and the goal held the potential to start an unstoppable force in the final frame.

Luckily for Colorado, the third period resembled the team seen in the previous four games. Nathan MacKinnon brought the game within one after taking advantage of a 5-on-3 power play.

The tenacity of Rantanen and MacKinnon paved the way for Ross Colton to net his fourteenth goal of the season to tie the game.

In the third period alone, the Avalanche recorded 16 shots on goal, far outshining the Canucks’ three.

A late power play gave Colorado the man advantage in overtime. MacKinnon got the job done at the 30 second mark, assisted by Valeri Nichushkin’s visor.

The Avalanche are notorious for impossible comebacks, the most notable being against the Dallas Stars with a six-goal comeback on Nov. 18, 2023.

The bad

The Canucks wasted no time lighting the lamp and took an early lead, only 24 seconds into the first frame.

With the tone set, it was hard to slow their momentum. Vancouver scored another goal at the two-minute mark. Both goals were unfortunate tip-ins, but the Avalanche quickly spiraled into a deficit difficult to get out of.

Though much of the struggle was not just a lack of offensive pressure, but the Canucks left every ounce of defensive effort on the ice.

Going forward, Colorado cannot afford to leave their effort for the last period of the game. While there is an impressive track record for unforeseen comebacks, playoff games will not allow for any mistakes.

What’s next?

The Avalanche have 15 games to secure their spot in the Central Division, and it will be no easy task. The Winnipeg Jets and Dallas Stars are also fighting for first place, and all three teams are within 4 points of each other.

Next on the schedule is the Edmonton Oilers, who the Avalanche have yet to face this season. The Oilers had a slow start to the season but are now securely in second place in the Pacific Division, leading the Los Angeles Kings by four points.


About Savvy Rafkin

Savvy is a recent Journalism and Media Communication graduate from Colorado State University. She spent most of her life playing softball and being surrounded by sports. As she entered college, she found her passion for sports writing and joined the Colorado State University Athletic Communications team. Later, she became a beat reporter for high school sports in northern Colorado.


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