Maybe you’re the type of hockey fan that hates shots. Surely such a person exists—I mean, the sport is for everyone. I bet there was a dude out there watching tonight who was downright elated at all the ineffective neutral zone play during the first period. How ineffective was it? Well, the Avalanche only managed four measly shots-on-goal during the opening 20 minutes. Their gracious host, the Calgary Flames? Only eight.
“So what!” you say. “Maybe there were a lot of blocks and misses?”
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case either. Both teams combined for just 28 shot attempts, which pretty much means it was the least interesting hockey you can watch at the NHL level. The Calgary Flames, however, would manage to deliver one of those attempts past Avalanche goalie, Calvin Pickard, following a Rene Bourque penalty. The perpetrator of this goal was Kris Versteeg, with assists from Sean Monahan and Alex Chiasson to give their team a 1-0 lead into the locker room.
The second period would see much less five-on-five play, with both teams taking a bunch of penalties (two for Calgary, three for Colorado). The Avalanche would score on zero of their power play opportunities, because that’s what they do. Calgary? They would convert on the final one of the period—this penalty committed by Blake Comeau—with just 2:40 left in the frame. The second tally came off the stick of Mikael Backlund for his 12th goal on the season.
Not out of it yet? Well, for most teams, sure, but not the Avalanche.
Alex Chiasson would score at even strength at the 6:35 mark with assists from TJ Brodie and the aforementioned Monahan. Then, two Colorado veterans, Cody McLeod and Fedor Tyutin would commit hi-sticking penalties in rapid succession, leading to a five-on-three Calgary power play for more than 1:45. Johnny Gaudreau was happy to make them pay 21 seconds later with his 10th goal of the season to put the Flames up 4-0.
Patrick Wiercioch killed Brian Elliot’s shutout with 1:25 left, but that’s all the Avalanche would muster, dropping the team to 12-25-1 on the season. A friend informed me they have now lost 20 of their last 23 games, which I’m quite sure is bad—real bad.
Stay brave, Avalanche fans.