In one of the strangest games of NHL hockey you will ever see, the Colorado Avalanche fell 2-1 to the Anaheim Ducks for their fourth straight loss.
The puck dropped a little after 8:00 PM mountain standard time, but you’d never know it by watching the Avalanche. After just a handful of shot attempts during the opening minutes, they would not attempt another shot—on goal, blocked, missed—for the remaining 12:38 of the period. Yeah, it was that bad. The Ducks had the Avalanche completely pinned in their own zone for shift after shift, barely allowing the puck to cross the red center line. The good news? Goalie Calvin Pickard denied each of Anaheim’s unworthy efforts—23 shots-on-goal in all!
Colorado would show up, however, during the second, roaring back with 19 shot attempts to Anaheims 10 in the early going. Unfortunately, that 19th attempt from Eric Gelinas was a howitzer from the point that missed everything in its path and broke the glass behind the goal. So, glass breaks every once in a while in the NHL. Easy fix, right? Wrong! Not only did Anaheim’s ice crew not have a replacement ready to go; they also had to walk it back-and-forth from the ice a couple of times to the confusion of everyone watching. Turns out they had to manually cut a hole in the glass to accommodate the robo-cam the sits behind that particular plane of glass. This process took a painstaking 45 minutes to complete, so long that the officiating crew decided it would be best to send the players to the locker room and play a 29-minute “third period” when the rink was ready again.
At first, the long stoppage in play seemed to work in the Avalanche’s favor. Anaheim took an early penalty, giving Colorado their first power play opportunity of the game. The top group managed a few great opportunities, including a drive to the net and a shot by Matt Duchene. After the initial attempt failed to get past goalie John Gibson, he quickly retrieved the rebound and poked a pass across the slot to an awaiting Gabriel Landeskog, who buried the puck to give his team a 1-0 lead.
Then some real nonsense started to occur. After a clean crushing of Jakob Silfverberg by Nikita Zadorov, he was approached by both Ryan Kessler and Josh Manson seeking revenge. Eventually Manson and Zadorov would drop gloves and engage in a fight that ended abnormally quickly due to Manson’s fighting strap being disconnected (normally a game misconduct penalty). But to everyone’s astonishment, no penalty was called; and Instead of heading to a power play, the Avalanche were now without their best defenseman for a five-minute stretch.
Hampus Lindholm would score on power play a few minutes later, induced by a phantom Landeskog hooking penalty, tying the game at one. And then, because the Avalanche are completely incapable of sending games to overtime, they coughed up a second goal, this time to Nick Ritchie, with just 2:02 left in the contest.
Colorado would pull their goalie and get a couple of decent desperate shots off, but the result would be the same losing score we’ve seen entirely too many times before this season. The Avalanche are now 13-29-1 and play next on Saturday against the San Jose Sharks.
Hang in there, friends.