Sunday, May 26, 2024

Nail-Biting OT Thriller as Avalanche Storm Back to Stun Stars in Game 1

HomeSports NewsNail-Biting OT Thriller as Avalanche Storm Back to Stun Stars in Game...

In an absolutely electrifying playoff showdown, the Colorado Avalanche pulled off an improbable comeback, overcoming a 3-0 deficit to defeat the top-seeded Dallas Stars 4-3 in overtime in Game 1 of their Western Conference Second Round series. The heroics came courtesy of Miles Wood, who blasted home the game-winner on a breathtaking individual effort just over 11 minutes into the extra period.

The game got off to a nightmarish start for the defending Stanley Cup champion Avalanche. The Stars, riding a massive emotional high after their grueling seven-game first round series win over Vegas, came out flying and had Colorado on their heels.

Veteran defenseman Ryan Suter opened the scoring midway through the first period, wiring a seeing-eye shot through traffic from the point that Avs goalie Alexander Georgiev never saw. The onslaught continued when 20-year-old Wyatt Johnston made it 2-0 with a snipe from the faceoff circle moments after a Dallas faceoff win.

Colorado’s deficit grew to 3-0 late in the opening frame after Jamie Benn’s deflection found the back of the net on a Stars power play. The Avalanche had been utterly dominated in a lopsided first period that could have been even worse if not for Georgiev’s solid goaltending.

However, this hugely talented and resilient Colorado squad refused to go quietly. They slowly tilted the ice back in their favor over the final two periods, chipping away at the Dallas lead.

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The comeback began early in the second on a power play goal from Valeri Nichushkin, who buried a rebound for his eighth tally of these playoffs. All-star defenseman Cale Makar then cut the deficit to 3-2 with a perfectly-placed wrist shot from the high slot, capitalizing on a defensive breakdown by the Stars.

Despite heavy Colorado pressure the rest of the way, the score remained 3-2 heading to the third period. But the Avalanche completed their storybook rally just 39 seconds into the final frame. Nathan MacKinnon was inexplicably left all alone in the slot and made no mistake, calmly ripping a shot past Jake Oettinger to knot the score at 3-3.

The two heavyweight teams then went toe-to-toe over the next 19 minutes of scintillating end-to-end hockey. Both netminders – Georgiev and Oettinger – came up with numerous clutch saves to send the tilt to overtime.

In the extra session, it was Colorado who finally broke through at the 11:03 mark with a rally-capping tally that will live on in playoff lore.

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Veteran grinder Andrew Cogliano won a battle for the puck in the corner and dished it to the streaking Wood, who kicked into another gear to blow past superstar defenseman Miro Heiskanen. With Heiskanen trailing in his wake, Wood charged hard to the net and roofed a backhand past Oettinger, sending the home crowd into stunned silence as the Avalanche celebrated wildly.

“I was just screaming ‘chip, chip, chip’ and Cogliano made a great play, and from there I just used my speed and kicked it into high gear,” an elated but exhausted Wood said after the game.

“When Woody gets going like that, he’s nearly impossible to stop with his speed and power,” marveled Colorado head coach Jared Bednar. “It was a helluva individual effort to cap an amazing comeback for our guys.”

The win was the Avalanche’s third playoff comeback from a three-goal deficit in franchise history and their first since 1997. It also represented an incredible show of resilience and determination by the reigning champions against a highly-motivated and well-rested Dallas squad.

“It would have been easy for our group to fold up the tents after that first period,” admitted superstar Nathan MacKinnon. “But we felt we were playing better than the score showed, so we wanted to stick with it, and found a way to get it done.”

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On the losing side, the Stars were understandably deflated after being so close to stealing Game 1 on home ice. However, they took solace in their blistering start and knew leaving everything out there in Game 7 against Vegas likely caught up to them down the stretch.

“I thought the fatigue from that Game 7 hit us in the second half,” said Dallas head coach Pete DeBoer. “We had a great start, but you can never take a breath against a great team like that Colorado squad.”

Game 2 of the series goes Thursday night in Dallas, where the Stars will undoubtedly be looking to bounce back and even the series before it shifts to Colorado. As for the Avalanche, they’ll simply be aiming to bottle up that unstoppable energy and resolve that propelled their epic comeback in the opener.

No matter what happens the rest of the way, Game 1 will go down as an instant classic and yet another reminder that this Avalanche team is never out of a game until the final buzzer sounds.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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