All anyone asks for in life is a chance, and the Avalanche gave themselves that with a gutty 2-1 come from behind win in Las Vegas to pull within 2 points of the top seeded Golden Knights in the Western Conference standings. The Avs were outplayed for most of the night and an Alex Pietrangelo 1st period goal gave Vegas the early lead. Colorado was able to tie the game at 1 in the 2nd, thanks to an Andre Burakovsky goal. In the 3rd J.T. Compher was able to "poke" the puck, as he characterized it postgame, past Vegas goalie Robin Lehner with just under 5 minutes left in the game to put the Avs on top.
Avalanche goal tender Phillip Grubauer put himself squarely back in the conversation to win the Vezina Trophy given to the leagues top net-minder, stopping 36 of the 37 shots he faced. His 29 wins in 39 games is 2nd only to Tampa's Andre Vaselevskiy who has 41 wins in 42 appearances.
Following the game, a somewhat disappointed Bednar gave all the credit for his team's win to Grubauer.
Overall, Bednar didn't like out his team was outplayed, at least for the first 2 periods, and had a simple explanation for why they "out-hit" Vegas 49-45, "I think we out hit em because they had the puck the whole night, he said. "We probably had 3 times the game without the puck. I thought they were the more physical team tonight from the start…”
Bednar didn't have much detail on how Nathan Mackinnon felt in his return to the ice, following a 2-game absence with a lower body injury, but said that he felt good enough to play, so he was in the lineup.
The Avalanche now control their own destiny in their remaining 2 games against the Kings in Denver. The Golden Knights wrap their regular season Wednesday in the Shark Tank against San Jose. Even if they win to get to 82 points, if the Avs can beat L.A. Wednesday and Thursday, to also reach 82 points, their 5-3 series advantage over Vegas would earn them the President's Trophy as the team with the most points in all of hockey.
Despite playing phenomenal game, Gruby was quick to put the win in perspective, postgame, "I think the next game is gonna be the most important one, if we don’t win, (tonight) doesn’t matter!"