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The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

Avs Season Concluded in Seven Game Series

Photo provided by Unsplash.

By Dylan Weaver

After a difficult season that led the Avs into the playoffs again, it was a physical seven-game series with the Seattle Kraken that proved too much as Colorado ended its year in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

The defending Stanley Cup champions came into the playoffs as one of the two #1 seeds from the west region ending the year on a hot streak. The Seattle Kraken carved a different path and snuck into the playoffs instead by grabbing one of the Wildcard spots. Both teams may have had different journeys, but once into the playoffs, the higher-seeded team is only sometimes the one who gets to move on, as anything can happen.

What may prove to be an even crazier fact is that the 2022–2023 season was only the second year that the Kraken had become a team to compete within the National Hockey League. In doing so, they took down the reigning Stanley Cup champions in their first playoff chance. They are now the first expansion team to knock out the reigning champs the following year.

The Avs-Kraken series was one of three series in the Stanley Cup playoffs that went to seven games, and on the other side of the bracket, fellow one-seed in the Boston Bruins were also upset as they fell to the Florida Panthers. This upset was primarily a shock in the NHL world because of its significance after the Bruins set the single-season win record in NHL history with 65 wins.

The Avs’ seven-game series can be written similarly to the Bruins, as there were many ups and downs.

Within this series, a team was never up to more than one game. The series started going 1-0 in the Kraken’s favor before the Avs won two consecutive games to go up 2-1. The Kraken then responded by winning two more games to go up 3-2 before the Avs would win game six to force a decisive game seven back in Colorado. In a long game seven, where it looked that the Avs had all the momentum to advance through the playoffs, the Kraken took advantage of multiple Colorado miscues and used a lucky shot to defeat the Avs 2-1 narrowly.

In the series, the leader in points for the Avs came from Mikko Rantanen, who garnered 10 points throughout the seven games while leading the team with seven goals. Devon Toews followed him up with nine points, and then Nathan MacKinnon with seven.

While the Avs have the makeup of all-star players and one of the highest-rated offenses in the league, the common denominator this season would be the plague of injuries that occurred. The most notable player missing from the squad was the left winger and one of the captains of the team Gabriel Landeskog, who suffered a knee injury and required surgery leading to him missing the entire 2023 season and into the playoffs. Other players to miss time for the Avs were Valeri Nichushkin being absent for the playoffs after game two, with Josh Manson, Darren Helm, and Andrew Cogliano being out for game seven after injuries sustained in the series.

Winning back-to-back titles is no easy feat in hockey, especially regarding the oldest surviving trophy in North American professional sports. Rarely have teams gone back-to-back to win the Stanley Cup, but in this year of playoffs, a disappointing end to the season was the result for the Avs and much of Colorado as well.

While an early exit may have been the outcome, the future still is bright, and looking ahead, the Avs are a force to be reckoned with in the NHL for years to come.

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