There was a 10 hour and 37-minute gap between periods in this 3-2 win for the Colorado Avalanche over the Vegas Golden Knights. Let’s dig into what happened during this game.
Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Avalanche Power Play – The movement on the Avalanche power play was amazing but not to be outdone by the lateral movement of the Vegas Golden Knights veteran goaltender. The Golden Knights took too many penalties, and that hurt them from the standpoint it can tire a team out. They did kill off all five including some 5-on-3 time. The Flower was the team’s best penalty killer for sure.
The sun was wreaking havoc on the ice, and the ice crew was desperately filling in the holes. The NHL delayed the time in-between the first and second periods hoping it would improve but they eventually suspended play. This ice was the most problematic ice since the 2011 Winter Classic in Pittsburgh where a 1 PM start was delayed until that evening because of rain. The 2003 Heritage Classic where the ice was cracking due to the extremely cold weather of Edmonton, Alberta was the third-worst of all-time.
Vegas had some life in the second period when William Carrier laid a big hit, and later Ryan Reaves did as well. When Alec Martinez did get the lone goal for Vegas the game was tied early in the period and there was a sign that the game could change. That lasted less than four minutes when an already super skating Nathan Mackinnon scored making it a 2-1 game, and at that point the Avs started taking over the game. Early in the game before the melting ice and from the start of the second period with the “new” ice, Colorado put on a skating clinic including defenseman, Cale Makar showed his edgework more than a few times while keeping the puck in the offensive zone and propelling himself away from the competition.
— #NHLOutdoorsAfterDark on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) February 21, 2021
Colorado goalie Philipp Grubauer has carried the load this year. More than most since Pavel Francouz has been on LTIR and has played 12 of the teams’ 14 games this year. During that time the Avalanche starter has posted a sensational .936 save percentage and a 9-3 record. His GSAA is a 9.0, the best team in the NHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs netminder Frederik Andersen is a -.06, so it shows how valuable Grubauer is to his team right now, and he’s not getting much credit for it. At some point, he will need to take a few more games off but Francouz returning will have something to say about that. Hunter Miska will be rarely used as the second netminder.
The daytime scenery of Lake Tahoe was picturesque. The best we’ve ever seen as a backdrop in any outdoor game in NHL history. I would still like to see the NHL have a game in Central Park in New York City. The possibilities are endless there, there is a rink, and at that point, they can set up temporary seating or in a worst-case scenario do that without fans, but I don’t think that would be necessary. The flyover shots and the fact that this could occur inside a bustling city, post-pandemic, would be a real shot in the arm to the country I believe.
Let’s see what happens in the Flyers-Bruins evening affair!