The Colorado Avalanche continue to be terrible, falling 6-3 to the Calgary Flames and destroying their one-game win streak.
Anything positive at the Pepsi Center these days is met with a great deal of skepticism. That’s why Avalanche fans had to temper their excitement when Nathan MacKinnon skated the puck into Calgary’s zone, drew in three opponents and dished to Gabriel Landeskog keeping pace down the left-hand side. The captain then unleashed a precision-guided top-shelf slap shot to put the Avalanche up 1-0 with 1:38 left in the opening period.
The Avalanche would head into the locker room with a lead. Calgary would head into the locker room to discuss a new strategy: shoot off Avalanche players—a feat they would accomplish four times in the following 20 minutes.
The first of which would occur 1:33 into the frame. Mikael Backlund skated with speed into the Avalanche zone, ran a give-and-go with rookie Matthew Tkachuk and then fired the puck off of Avalanche defenseman Fedor Tyutin and past goalie Calvin Pickard to tie the game 1-1. The second came off a Sam Bennett tip in the slot that was tipped yet again by Francois Beauchemin who was inexplicably standing right in front his own goalie. The third time? Oh, that was a tip again—and this one was a doozy. Dennis Wideman fired a shot from the point and Johnny Gaudreau deflected the puck up in the slot up over the goal, off the back glass and improbably right on to the back of Calvin Pickard, who helplessly watched it roll down his jersey and in the net for Calgary’s third goal of the period.
Jarome Iginla briefly managed to curtail these self-inflicted goals with a beautiful one-timer from the point off a slick feed from Carl Soderberg. Unfortunately, this would only be a short reprieve.
Calgary’s next goal would start in the Avalanche zone when Francois Beauchemin shot right into the pads of a Flames’ defender, initiated a 3-on-2 odd-man rush heading the other direction. Dougie Hamilton launched a wrist shot from the left circle that was originally stopped by Pickard, but he was unable to cover the rebound. Backland found the puck in the slot and threw it back at the net, but it wouldn’t go in without first being—you guessed it—redirected off Francois Beauchemin. If you weren’t counting, that was four pucks off Avalanche players for Calgary goals in the second period alone.
The third period wasn’t kind either, though the Flames had to do more of their own work to score goals. Johnny Gaudreau potted his second of the evening in transition, firing top-shelf, glove side to put the Flames up 5-2. Gabriel Landeskog got his second of the evening too, losing his defender with a nifty skating maneuver and burying another over Brian Elliot’s glove hand. But Calgary would reclaim their three-goal lead later in the period on a power play when Kris Versteeg decided to get in on the action—surprisingly not on a deflection off an Avalanche player.
Colorado is now winless in their last nine games (0-8-1) at the Pepsi Center, dropping their overall record to 12-21-1 on the season.