At this point, you expect the Avalanche to start the game off slowly. One way or another, they’ll allow the opposing team to jump ahead, if not on the scoreboard, then at least in momentum—but usually on the scoreboard, which happened again tonight in a frustrating 3-2 loss to the red-hot Columbus Blue Jackets.
The first Blue Jackets goal came about five minutes into the first immediately following a Rene Bourque holding penalty. No, it wasn’t a power play goal, but the Avalanche failed to clear the puck from their zone and never did get situated afterward defensively. Brandon Saad blasted one home after receiving a pass from Scott Hartnell below the goal line to put his team up 1-0. The goal was Saad’s seventh on the season.
The second goal came as a result of a really long Erik Johnson pinch in the offensive zone. After taking a tough-angled shot and following the rebound, the Blue Jackets suddenly found themselves with a three-on-one odd-man rush. A couple of well-executed passes later and Nick Foligno would put Columbus up 2-0 with 3:45 left to go in the opening period.
Colorado would find life in the second period. First during a power play that saw a couple of big blasts from the point by Erik Johnson, the second of which resulted in a big juicy rebound in the slot. John Mitchell whiffed on the put-back attempt, but his effort served to tie up the defense for a clean Blake Comeau tap-in to draw the score to 2-1.
Then big Sam Henley, making his NHL debut for the Avalanche, scored his first NHL goal, finding the puck above the right circle after a Tyson Barrie pinch and just firing it at the net. Turned out the shot was through enough traffic that Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky never saw it and suddenly the game was tied at two with 5:35 left to go in the second.
Columbus would get on the scoreboard again midway through the third period. Fedor Tyutin and Blake Comeau, both trying to clear a puck in the slot coughed the puck up to Cam Atkinson who assisted Boone Jenner on his third goal of the year to put the Blue Jackets up 3-2.
Late the period, the Avalanche thought they tied it up with a tipped redirect from Blake Comeau on what would have been his second goal on the evening, but the goal would be waived off after a review for having been played with a high stick. A minute later Colorado would pull their goalie for one last chance, but it would be to no avail.
The Avalanche will wrap up their absolutely brutal home stand on Saturday, December 3rd against the Dallas Stars. Puck drops at 7:00 PM MST.