NHL West: Colorado Avalanche defeat Edmonton Oilers 8-6 in Game 1
June 1, 2022
The Colorado Avalanche got off to a rough start in Game 1 of their Western Conference Final series against the Edmonton Oilers, but they could bounce back and win 8-6 on Tuesday night.
Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar were the early stars for the Avalanche, as they both contributed two goals and five points in the victory. J.T. Compher was the lone multi-goal scorer for the Oilers.
The first game of each playoff series has been disappointing for the Oilers, as they have yet to bounce back from a series loss. In their first matchup against the Calgary Flames, they fell behind early and lost strangely.
Costly power play
It's fitting that the Avalanche were able to win the game by two goals after Gabriel Landeskog made a huge save in the final seconds to prevent the game from going to overtime.
It was clear that Valeri Nichushkin was not in an offside position when he scored the game's first goal for the Avalanche. However, Jay Woodcroft's crew failed to consider that Makar momentarily lost control of the ball while entering the zone.
Despite being in the neutral zone, Makar could still control the ball until he blew it past Mike Smith. However, the officials ruled that he lost control of the ball until Nichushkin was able to confirm the goal.
After the failed challenge, the Avalanche was able to capitalize on their power play, resulting in Nazem Kadri's goal. This was the second goal that the team scored on their power play in the second period.
The teams traded multiple goals in the second period, which forced the officials to pull both starting goalkeepers. Smith struggled once again, as he allowed six goals on 25 shots in just over 30 minutes. Meanwhile, Darcy Kuemper left the game before the midway point due to an injury.
Despite the changes in the game, both of the replacements were able to settle their respective creases. Mikko Koskinen made 20 saves for the Oilers, while Pavel Francouz made 21 saves for the Avalanche.
Despite losing his matchup against the Avalanche's talented five-man unit, Connor McDavid was still able to contribute to the offense of the Oilers. He had 11 points in the playoffs, which is the most through 13 games in the history of the playoffs.
The offensive surges of Edmonton were also supported by the impressive scoring runs of their two leading goal scorers, Evander Kane and Zach Hyman. Kane led the playoff goal-scorers with 13 goals, while Hyman continued to score a goal for the last six games.
The 14 combined goals scored in the game were a record for a single playoff game. However, various factors will need to happen for this series to be considered a historical event.
The goal-making abilities of both teams were showcased in Game 1. However, aside from the stars, there were also a lot of spills on both sides of the ice. Between the two teams' starting goalkeepers, the blueliners, and the forwards, there were a lot of opportunities to fix.
The series will not be considered a great representation of the league or the sport unless both teams improve their fundamental and tactical playing.