The past two weeks in Denver have been an emotional roller coaster, with peaks as high as Colorado’s 14ers, to lows that felt as low as Death Valley. Both residents of the Pepsi Center, the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche were at the summit of those peaks last week heading into their respective game seven.
The Colorado Avalanche was the Mile High’s Cinderella-esque story, squeaking their way into the playoffs at the last minute, moving on to beat the top team in the Western Conference in the first round and then pressing one of the best teams in hockey to the brink of defeat.
The Denver Nuggets gave fans hope, not just for the regular and post-season, but also for several years to come. The Avalanche and Nuggets are both fairly young teams and showed extreme promise in a city that has been dominated by football over the past three and half decades.
It’s common for fans in the Mile High City to experience the successes the Denver Broncos have created under Pat Bowlen but now, the newfound success that the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche have brought to the state is one that will have fans counting down the days until basketball and hockey seasons begin, not just football.
Last Wednesday the Colorado Avalanche were in San Jose to take on the Sharks in Game 7. The San Jose Sharks jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the first period, however the Avalanche cut that lead in half just before the end of the 1st…than the controversy. In the second period, Colorado Avalanche center, Collin Wilson tied up the game 2-2 on a goal that hushed the crowd at the “Tank,” however, the Sharks video coach disputed the goal challenging the refs call which eventually was overturned taking Colorado’s game tying goal away.
The overturned play, which was later confirmed by the NHL to be correct, disputed that Colorado’s team captain Gabriel Landeskog had not tagged or exited the ice at the time the puck crossed the blue line, which resulted in the play being off-sides. The San Jose Sharks scored shortly after the overturned call giving San Jose a 3-1 lead heading into the third period where the Avalanche were only able to muster a single goal.
The Denver Nuggets, at home, at Pepsi Center hosted the Portland Trailblazers in game seven on Sunday afternoon. The Nuggets jumped out to a 29-17 lead in the first quarter out pacing the Blazers in what fans thought would be a lopsided win. The Blazers obviously had other plans, because the first quarter was the only quarter, which Denver out scored Portland. The Nuggets, despite going into the half with 48-39 lead still had hoped they’d give fans their first NBA Finals appearance since the 2008-09 season.
Unfortunately, the Nuggets were outlasted by the Blazers who came out in the second half with purpose, one which did not include a Denver Nuggets win. While both the Nuggets and Avalanche season endings were not what fans expected, there is a silver lining that comes with both losses. Both Pepsi Center residents are young and have promising years ahead of them. The Mile High is excited for more than just football now.