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Avalanche get boat raced by Panthers, lose 5-2

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Colorado lets a winnable hockey game get away from them headed into a five-day break.

Colorado Avalanche v Florida Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

You would never know it just by looking at the final score, but the Colorado Avalanche had a lead for a third of this hockey game—and didn’t trail until less than three minutes left in the second. The third period was...bad, and now the team will have plenty of time to mull it over during a five-day break in between games.

After a great opening seven minutes, the Avalanche would get their first power play opportunity of the game after a Jason Demers tripping penalty on Gabriel Landeskog. Tyson Barrie ripped a shot from the point past Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo, and was initially credited for the goal, but we soon learned Blake Comeau was the culprit, tipping the puck in the slot.

The early Avalanche momentum would persist a few more minutes until a couple of Avalanche penalties halted it in its tracks. Florida would put the puck past Varlamov during this sequence, but a successful offside challenge by Jared Bednar would erase it from the board. Unfortunately, the quality of play would only get worse.

Semyon Varlamov stood on his head the whole period to keep Florida off the board, but he looked visibly frustrated by some of the chances allowed and the screens he was having to see through. It was only a matter of time before the Panthers would strike, and they did so just 1:30 into the second after a stupid slashing penalty by Jarome Iginla on Aaron Ekblad.

Ekblad would get his revenge personally blasting home a one-timer from Jaromir Jagr from close range to tie the game at one. After a number of great Varlamov saves to keep the Avs in it, Florida would take the lead on a Shane Harper goal—this one at even strength.

Down just 2-1, it felt like Colorado could make some small adjustments during the intermission and get back in the game, but that’s not how it transpired. Jonathan Marchessault scored 4:30 into the period, and then so did Shane Harper again not 40 seconds later to make it 4-1.

Matt Duchene would provide the last glimmer of hope 16 seconds later, popping in a rebound resulting from a Patrick Wiercioch shot to draw the game to 4-2. But that would be it. Vincent Trocheck would skate unperturbed from behind the net and stuff the puck past Varlamov to claim an unassisted goal and put the Panther’s 5th point on the board.

And that’s how it would end—ugly.

Colorado will now have an unprecedented five days off before hosting the Winnipeg Jets at the Pepsi Center. They’ll need it to shore up some inconsistencies in their play and get some key contributors back in their bottom-six, namely John Mitchell and Mikko Rantanen.

NHL.com Boxscore