Coming into the final game of the season with nothing tangible to play for, the Colorado Avalanche approached their afternoon tilt against the Anaheim Ducks with a twinge of optimism as they looked to finish the season on a positive note after completely bombing in their pursuit of a playoff spot. The Avs would come out flying in the first period, looking to get back a bit of the pride they tossed away down the stretch as they lost five consecutive games coming into today.
Unfortunately for the Avalanche, they would not be able to keep up the pressure and a major penalty and game misconduct on Andreas Martinsen for a late hit at center ice would put Anaheim on an extended power play they would take advantage of. Trailing the play late, Cam Fowler would jump into the fray and receive a pass from former Av Chris Stewart before beating Semyon Varlamov blocker side for the 1-0 lead at 14:44 of the first period.
Anaheim would extend their lead on a goal Varlamov would love to have back when Jakob Silfverberg with a weakside goal to make it 2-0 with just 55 seconds remaining in the period. The Ducks would take that lead into the intermission feeling good about themselves as they chased down the Los Angeles Kings for the Pacific Division title.
The start of the second period would continue to be all Ducks and Ryan Garbutt would beat Varlamov at 9:37 to push Anaheim ahead 3-0 and bring out a smattering of boos from the Pepsi Center faithful. All hell would then break loose as Nick Holden would skate a puck from his own end, through multiple Ducks players and get a shot on John Gibson that would be mishandled and land behind Gibson when Holden followed through and tapped the puck into the net to cut the deficit to 3-1 just 17 seconds after Garbutt's goal.
The Avalanche would continue their push as Gabriel Landeskog would find Jarome Iginla in front of the net and while stopped by Gibson initially, Iginla would stay on top of the puck to push home the rebound to make it 3-2 just 32 seconds after Holden's goal. Colorado and Anaheim would trade penalties afterwards and the score would remain 3-2 heading into the third period.
The third period would be a pretty even back-and-forth until Ryan Getzlaf made it 4-2 on wrist shot that beat Varlamov blocker side. The Ducks would wait 1:37 before scoring again to make it 5-2.
A late goal by Zach Redmond would push the game to its final score, 5-3.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Getzlaf's goal ultimately ended up the game winner and essentially drained the hope and life out of the Pepsi Center, making it both the play of the game and the night's turning point.
BY THE NUMBERS
QUOTE OF THE GAME
"Pisses me off the most is just that we really wanted to get this one for the fans here at home and we feel like we gave ourselves a chance with a strong second period. We really picked the worst time to play our worst hockey this season. It's unacceptable." - Captain Gabriel Landeskog
The Avs finished the game with the 11th overall pick in the NHL Draft with New Jersey still playing. Depending on the outcome of that game, they either will remain with the 11th pick or move up to 10th overall heading into the April 30 NHL Draft Lottery.