The Avalanche forced their fourth overtime tonight; however, unlike the previous occurrences, they were unable to capitalize during 3-on-3 play, eventually falling to the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 in a shootout—their first of the season.
Despite the unique end to the contest, the beginning was very much the same story: a slow start and an early deficit. It started with another Nikita Zadorov penalty, tripping in the defensive zone, and after a reasonably effective John Mitchell forecheck on the penalty kill, Vancouver found themselves with a viable odd-man rush. Markus Granlund fed Loui Eriksson a nice cross-ice pass and Eriksson beat Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard shortside to put the Canucks up 1-0 just 3:43 into the game.
After settling down for the remainder of the first period, the Avalanche would tie the game up midway through the second. Carl Soderberg brought the puck down the right wing in transition and Matt Duchene hustled to mix things up in front of the net. Carl then put a backhand on net and chaos ensued in front of Canucks goalie Jakob Markstrom. In the end, Mikhail Grigorenko—freshly reinstated from a healthy scratch—whacked the puck out of mid-air and into the net to draw the game 1-1.
As if we needed another example to describe how slowly the Avalanche start period, they decided to pile on their already healthy portfolio. Just 1:26 into the third Francois Beauchemin got caught flat footed on the blue line and proceeded to let Bo Horvat skate by him like he was skating across Pismo Beach. Horvat then dropped a pass back to Alexandre Burrows, who buried a nice one-timer to give Vancouver the lead for the second time.
Jarome Iginla, not three minutes later, caught a pass from Fedor Tyutin and got the Avalanche back on the board, firing a wrister from the point through about as much traffic as one can shoot a puck. Iginla’s shot careened off a Canucks player and past Markstrom to draw the score at 2-2.
Colorado would have plenty more chances to take the lead before the period was over and still more once the game ended tied in regulation and went to 3-on-3 overtime, but the puck never did find the net again, no matter how juicy the opportunity. Neither team would score during the overtime period, sending the game into a shootout.
MacKinnon got too fancy and was stuffed in the crease. Markus Granlund would beat Calvin Pickard five-hole. Mikko Rantanen would ring one off the top post (his third of the night?) and Duchene would be robbed by Markstrom yet again—giving Vancouver the best-of-three shootout victory.
The Canucks would move to 9-11-2 and the Avalanche to 9-11-1, continuing their home ice struggles, but at least getting a loser point out of it. Colorado will play again at the Pepsi Center on Tuesday against the Nashville Predators.