The Colorado Avalanche are moving on.
Thanks to their 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Friday night they were finally able to break through the Second Round ceiling this core has been stuck under the past four years and advance to the Western Conference Finals. This is Colorado’s first trip to the Western Conference Finals since 2002 and it gives them a matchup with Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers, a series that will boast two exciting offenses and some of the best talents and players in the league.
The win was not without its drama.
The Avalanche trailed, 2-1, late in the third period and were unable to solve Blues goalie Ville Husso who appeared as if he was going to single handedly take the series to a Game 7.
But a J.T. Compher power play goal at the 10:18 mark tied the game.
That set the stage for Darren Helm, the unlikeliest of Avalanche heroes, to beat Husso with with less than five seconds to play in regulation.
Here is the goal.
And with that, the Blues season ends and the Avalanche advance.
This is a significant breakthrough for this Avalanche team to finally get through the Second Round. This is where they kept stalling out in each of the past three years, and after blowing a three goals lead in Game 5 of this series the pressure was absolutely on to win this series. There comes a point where every great team needs to take the next step in it’s development to be a Stanley Cup winner. Another second round exit for this Avalanche team, after that regular season, with this amount of talent, would have been a bitter disappointment. It should not be Stanley Cup or bust, but progress was needed.
They made that progress. Now they are one step closer to the Stanley Cup.
The Western Conference Final will feature the Edmonton Oilers against the Colorado Avalanche and will begin either Tuesday, May 31 or Thursday, June 2. The confirmed Conference Finals schedule will be announced when matchups are determined.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.