The Department of Player Safety assessed Cale Makar a one-game suspension following his hit on Jared McCann in Game 4. As a result, Makar was not an option for tonight. Returning to the lineup and making his playoff debut was defenseman Jack Johnson.

The series was tied, and the Avs had a chance to go up in the series or face elimination come Friday. Alexandar Georgiev earned the start in net, and the Avs returned to Ball Arena in search of another win in front of the home crowd.

First Period

Colorado had their best start of the series so far. Unlike the prior first periods, they did not allow a goal against. Better yet, they sustained more zone pressure than before and even though Seattle continued to manage their lanes well and stop a lot of chances from reaching the net, the Avs were creating.

The Kraken came ready too and had the shots advantage. At 10:42, Jack Johnson went to the box for interference.

Colorado put together an effective kill and made easy work of it. They held Seattle to just one shot on net.

At 19:03 following a couple hard working shifts, Artturi Lehkonen successfully drew a tripping penalty and the Avs earned their first powerplay chance.

Mikko Rantanen got a wrist shot on Philipp Grubauer, but the period came to an end.

Second Period

The Avs began the second period with the remaining time left on their powerplay. The momentum break between periods didn’t result in much.

Three minutes into its start, Logan O’Connor went to the box for interference. Colorado’s kill remained successful.

With 13:25 remaining, the Seattle Kraken took the first lead of the game as they have all series long. Morgan Geekie cleaned up a Jaden Schwartz shot rebound. Alex Wennberg made the pass from near the goal line to Schwartz at the left circle.

Moments later Philipp Grubauer played the puck behind the net, and Mikko Rantenen collected it on the half-wall and fired a shot on net. Nathan MacKinnon deflected it in to tie it.

Two minutes after, MacKinnon believed he was tripped in the offensive zone and slammed his stick in frustration over the non-call. Play transitioned the other way after the Avs lost possession, and Jordan Eberle rounded the Avs net and tee’d up 21-year-old Tye Kartye for his first career goal in his NHL debut.

With 1:10 remaining in the period, Eeli Tolvanen was called for slashing and the Avs earned another powerplay chance that would be shared between periods.

The Avs continued to do some things right in this frame: heavy hits, more shots on net and more dangerous opportunities than before, but they lost sight of the details for small enough fragments to let the Kraken get the edge.

Third Period

The powerplay finished. At 1:40 into the third period, Carson Soucy sent a shot from the point and Yanni Gourde redirected it in to make it 3-1.

Georgiev didn’t quit on his team. He denied a point blank chance from Tolvanen last in the period.

With just under four minutes to go, Georgiev went to the bench and the Avs brought on the extra skater. Evan Rodrigues came on to the ice and fired a shot from the blueline which went off Jamie Oleksiak’s body and in.

The Avs threw everything they had at Seattle in the final minutes, Rodrigues even used his body to block the empty net goal attempt, but it wasn’t enough.

The Kraken took the series lead with their 3-2 win. Colorado would face elimination in Seattle on Friday for Game 6.

Colorado looked gassed. They tried to empty their tank in the final moments, but it wasn’t a complete enough effort for the full 60 minutes.


Stopping MacKinnon: Nathan MacKinnon, who was held to zero shots on net in Game 4, came prepared to counter Seattle’s defensive dispatch. He was just one shot behind Mikko Rantanen tonight at 4, and tied Rantanen for total attempts. MacKinnon had a goal to show for it too. Perhaps more concerning was the burden placed on MacKinnon’s individual shoulders for Game 5.

When asked about Seattle’s strategy to shut him down specifically, “I think that’s what their plan is every game,” MacKinnon said at morning skate. “It’s up to me to play my best – however they play is out of my control.”

Without Cale Makar, Darren Helm, and Val Nichushkin, a lot of Colorado’s offense was unavailable for tonight.

Just five players didn’t register a shot on net tonight, but seven players who’ve played in Colorado’s bottom-six have not contributed a single point through five games this series.

MacKinnon finished the night with a team-high 27:01 minutes.

Bednar addressed the heavy workload. “MacKinnon playing 23 and change is nothing. He does it all the time. It’s not like we’re running into 27 minutes every night. We classified this as a must win game at home, so we’re gonna do whatever we have to do in order to get that done.”

“He played hard, he was effective. We needed him to be. He comes up with a big goal for us. Do we get to a point where he runs out of gas? Maybe. But we’re facing elimination. If we got to play him 30 [minutes], we’ll do it.”

Mental reset:  When asked what significant changes Jared Bednar felt the team needed to make going into Game 6, “We got to reset mentally,”  he said. “You don’t win, you go home. It’s a mental thing. It’s not just the team. Each individual has to get his mind in the right place in order to be able to play this game the right way.”

“I feel like we haven’t played anywhere near our best. Give Seattle credit, you have to give them a lot of credit. But at the end of the day, I just want to see our guys play to the best of their ability for one game and see what happens. That’s the sort of attitude that we have to have.”