2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Avs: Pink elephants? Alive and kickin’

Published: April 26, 2014, 11:24 pm, by Paul Klee

Avs.Winner

Somewhere, possibly in St. Paul or the surrounding area, the Avs lost their pink elephants.

Their pink elephants are a happy crew. They carry with them positivity, optimism, an overwhelming confidence that anything is possible. A two-goal deficit is no worry for their pink elephants. 

Turns out, the pink elephants were chillin’ at Pepsi Center the whole time.

Colorado’s 4-3 overtime win against Minnesota here at Pepsi Center tonight had pink-elephant footprints stomped all over it.

P.A Parenteau’s tying goal with 1:14 left in regulation? Nathan MacKinnon’s winner in OT (above)? Come on. This was Game 1 on replay. Or this Avs season on a loop.

You learned about pink elephants in this column. So did I. It was Ryan O’Reilly’s code phrase for the positive outlook Patrick Roy brought this season and when the Avs faced deficits late in games. 

It’s not as if the Avs implemented some magic strategical advantage to pull off these hockey miracles so many times during the regular season — and twice in a playoff series Colorado now leads 3-2. It’s simply an optimistic belief in self, stemming from Patrick Roy, that seems to push them through.

“We’ve got a very calm group,” MacKinnon said in the dressing room after he added three more points to bring his playoff total to 10.

Truth is, I thought the pink elephants might be extinct. For much of the third period Saturday night, there wasn’t the usual feeling that Colorado would return from a late one-goal deficit to send the game to overtime. The crowd didn’t feel it. Pepsi Center was unusually quiet. I didn’t feel it. There was something about two Avs losing their sticks, in their own zone, that made you wonder if this just isn’t their series.

(The Wild scored the go-ahead goal on the stick-less Avs.)

It looked like the Avs didn’t feel it. When Gabe Landeskog was served a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct — for snowing goalie Darcy Kuemper with 4:33 left in regulation — the home bench appeared numb.

“Whether it’s sportsmanlike or not, it’s playoff hockey. That’s a tough call,” Landeskog said of the penalty. 

But the Avs killed the penalty, then killed Minnesota’s momentum.

“It was hard to remain calm after the (penalty) call. But when I look at the clock, it said we’d have close to 2-minutes-something,” Roy said.

Translate this however you like, but it sure sounded like Matt Duchene will return for Game 6.

“We’re going to take a serious look at it,” Roy said.

Perhaps Duchene, who has missed the first five games of the series, will ride a pink elephant onto the ice for Game 6 in St. Paul on Monday.

At this point, nothing should be a surprise.

Twitter: @Klee_Gazette