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Impotent power play dooms Avalanche, lose to Panthers 3-1

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Avalanche play one of their best games in a month, lose anyway to the visiting Panthers.

Florida Panthers v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Going 0-for-6 on the power play isn’t going to win you many games. That’s especially true when one of those opportunities ends up as a shorthanded goal for the other team. Sadly, that’s exactly what happened tonight for the Colorado Avalanche in the 3-1 loss, despite playing one of their better games in recent memory.

Colorado started the game off about as strong as one could expect during this trying stretch. Did they score? No, but they drew two penalties and didn’t allow a goal either, a feat in which they’ve performed now in the first period two games in a row. Even more impressive, the underlying numbers looked good. Colorado—get this—outshot Florida in five-on-five attempts 13-10. When was the last time the Avs outshot a team in a close situation? If there’s a recent example, then it at least hasn’t been often.

They would finally get rewarded for their good play in the second almost immediately following yet another unsuccessful power play. Fedor Tyutin, who had yet to score a goal in an Avalanche uniform, snuck in on the weak side, took a nice pass from Nathan MacKinnon and blasted home a one-timer to put his team up 1-0.

Later in the period, Florida would strike back in transition. Seth Griffith would put a heavy wrist shot on Calvin Pickard, who coughed up a juicy rebound in the slot. Jason Demers then swooped in a put the puck in the net, only he did it by skating into the puck. The play was immediately reviewed by officials for a kicking motion and it was eventually determined it was not, in fact, kicked in the net. (It’s about as borderline as it gets.)

Early in the third, the Avalanche would get their fifth power play of the night after a Jaromir Jagr hooking penalty. Good thing, right? Wrong. After failing to seize possession on a dump-and-chase play, Derek McKenzie shot the puck up to a streaking Reilly Smith who left the Avalanche blue line in the dust and buried a backhand five-hole on Pickard to give the Panthers its first lead of the game.

A few minutes later Michael Matheson would put the game out of reach with a seemingly innocuous wrister. Pickard failed to make the stop and the Avalanche would eventually fail to win, dropping them to 4-10-1 at home and 11-17-1 on the season.