Tell me if you've heard this one before. The Avalanche struggle getting the puck out of their zone the first half of the game, the opposing team scores a couple of goals on improbable bounces, and Colorado loses a close one despite a barrage of excellent chances in the 3rd Period. If that sounds a little bit like last night, that's because it kind of was.
One difference was the Avs took an early lead on a power play. After going 0-for-6 last night, Nathan MacKinnon took the puck between the dot and the wall, made a spin move, and then powered to the front of the net to slide one past Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Colorado would take this lead into the intermission despite getting outshot 11-6 in the period.
The second period was where things started to bounce the wrong way for the Avs. Sitting near the Colorado goal line during a Rangers power play (incurred by a Ben Street hooking penalty), Derek Stepan fired a hopeless shot at a well-positioned Reto Berra that inexplicably deflected off his blocker pad and into the net. But the hockey gods wouldn't stop there: twenty-one seconds later at even strength, New York would get another fortuitous bounce. The Rangers would fire the puck innocently enough behind the net, but instead of caroming around or settling down, it kicked up in the air and right over Berra's shoulder, landing in the slot. The defense, now totally out of position, had no chance and rookie Oscar Lindberg would bury his seventh goal of the season.
The third period was just a barrage of Avalanche shots and possession and Henrik Lundqvist would have none of it. 5-on-5, power plays, empty net 6-on-5s -- all of it was turned away. Sometimes you just have to take your hat off to a great goalie performance. Tonight was one of those nights.
- Matt Duchene - Plus-11 tonight C+/- (and Plus-26 the past three games)
- Nathan MacKinnon - Plus-8 and scored the team's only goal
Reto Berra - The Avs backup has been really solid this season. Save Percentage is still .949
- You know, how do you really single-out three here? I'm not sure anyone on the team exactly deserves to be identified individually. No one was any more ineffective among the remaining players than anyone else. The team performance left plenty to be desired, and that's all there is to it.