Mikko Rantanen will take credit for the overtime game winner on Wednesday night. But the result was simple math. More shots on goal equal more opportunity to score, and against Calgary in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Avalanche can’t get enough.
“We were humming,” Rantanen said. “We had a lot of good chances even before my goal.”
Colorado can close out the Flames series Friday in Game 5 thanks to its relentless attack. The Avs combined for 108 shots on goal over its last two victories; a historic rate, considering their 56 shots on goal in Game 3 were most the in a regular season playoff game in franchise history. And the uptick is strategic.
“We’re encouraging our guys to get in the scoring areas and get inside the dots,” coach Jared Bednar said. “Don’t overpass it. They do a really good job of packing it in front of the net and their sticks are real active and good. They track back hard into the middle of the ice. … You’re going to try and use their team as a screen sometimes, too.”
The Avalanche, after slogging through the two periods, eventually reaped the rewards.
“We tired their D out,” said forward J.T. Compher, who sparked the Avs’ comeback effort with a rebound goal. “We were all over them. We were physical. We were turning the puck over playing our game.”
Although it wasn’t always this way.
Recall that dreadful stretch of Mile High hockey, from mid-December to late-January, when the Avs went 4-10-2 and this postseason run seemed impossible? Included were games with 22 shots vs. Minnesota, 24 vs. Los Angeles and 26 vs. Montreal. The results followed suit.
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You could hear a 180-degree turnaround Wednesday night with the sellout roar of 18,102 on each of Colorado’s 52 rockets toward Flames’ goalie Mike Smith. The 37-year-old netminder has encountered a barrage of pucks, 173 over four series games, while receiving little help from teammates in defending Avalanche shooting lanes. His 49 saves were not enough on Wednesday.