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Avalanche season ends in heartbreaking fashion in 2OT to Stars

May 18, 2024, 12:06 AM | Updated: 12:25 am

Avalanche Stars...

(Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Former Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene scored for the Dallas Stars with 8:18 to go in double overtime on Friday night, ending the season for the Avs.

Duchene scooped up a loose puck and beat Colorado goalie Alexandar Georgiev clean, sending home fans in a stunned Ball Arena by a final score of 2-1. Dallas won Game 6, taking the series four games to two.

It was Colorado’s first 2OT game in 20 years, also coming against Dallas all the way back in 2004. The Avalanche were victorious that night. It wasn’t meant to be this time around.

Both Zach Parise and Artturi Lehkonen had great chances early in double overtime, but Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger made two fantastic saves to play on. That’s when Duchene struck and it all suddenly ended.

And in a wild game, the first overtime didn’t come without controversy.

It appeared for a moment that Dallas had scored and the Avalanche’s season was done. But as the puck hit the back of the net, one of the referees immediately signaled no goal. Duchene made contact with Georgiev, interfering with his ability to make the save.

After a lengthy and tense review, the goal from Stars winger Mason Marchment was disallowed. You can see the play for yourself, one that extended the playoffs for the Avalanche. At least, temporarily.

The NHL explained the decision and why the call was upheld, saying Duchene “impaired” Georgiev from being able to play his position. It obviously was a massive moment at the time.

How we got to multiple overtimes was an interesting journey.

The Stars tied things 1-1 in the third period on a pretty goal. Evgenii Dadonov made a nice behind the back pass to a streaking Jamie Benn, who got one past Georgiev. “Georgie” had no chance, and it became nervous time in Denver.

Both teams had several premium chances in regulation, but it wasn’t to be. The game headed to OT tied 1-1 with the season on the line.

In the second period, Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen, who had a bit of an underwhelming postseason, scored a big goal.

With Colorado on the power play early in the second period, Rantanen beat Oettinger on the short side, and Ball Arena exploded as the Avs took a 1-0 lead. It was the first time in the series they had struck first.

Defenseman Josh Manson committed an interference penalty about five minutes later, and Colorado had a great kill. Joel Kiviranta found himself without a stick in the final moments, and gloved the puck out of the zone and out of harms way. It propelled a Manson breakaway, but play was stopped due to the illegal hand pass. The fans were so loud, no one heard the whistle.

Meanwhile, the first period had two notable things happen.

First, Avalanche superstar Cale Makar appeared to take a sucker punch from Marchment during a scrum after the whistle. There was no penalty called on the play and Makar was slow to get to the bench. He didn’t miss a shift though and returned to the action fairly quickly.

And then in the final minute of the frame, Nathan MacKinnon got off a shot from a tough angle on Oettinger. The rebound came to Lehkonen, who appeared to have somewhat of an open net. Lehkonen didn’t get great wood on it, but Oettinger still made a very nice save coming across the crease to keep the puck out. It was scoreless at the first intermission.

It’s a bitter end for the Avalanche, another season with Stanley Cup dreams ending before anyone wanted. The suspension of Valeri Nichushkin for six months before Game 4 will be a huge story this offseason, as well as what roster adjustments the team needs to make to reach the mountaintop once again.

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