Well, it wasn’t a “Valentine’s Day Massacre,” but it was a loss nonetheless. The Colorado Avalanche fell 3-2 to the New Jersey Devils, suffering their fourth straight loss on a brutal road trip.
The first goal of the game came early, and it didn’t come for the Avalanche. Sound familiar? It should. After Cody Goloubef corralled the puck below his goal line, he fired the puck to center John Mitchell to initiate the breakout. But where most hockey players would catch the puck on the tape and skate up ice, Mitchell opted to let the puck fly right by and let Damon Severson keep it in the Avalanche zone for an extended possession. He dished the puck to center Jacob Josefson, who fired a shot at the net for two of his teammates in the vicinity. Goalie Jeremy Smith (making his first NHL start) made the initial save, and the subsequent poke from the Stefan Noesen, but not rookie Pavel Zacha, who jammed the puck in the net for his seventh goal on the season.
After a brief stint on the penalty kill and a brief stint playing four-on-four, the Avalanche eventually would receive some power play time during the second period after a Miles Wood high-sticking penalty. Mikko Rantanen gathered the puck in the right circle and fired a dart down to Gabriel Landeskog below the blue line, who caught the pass and zipped the puck back in front of the goal and across the slot for a pinching Mark Barberio. The recent waiver wire claim from the Montreal Canadiens one-timed it home for his first goal in an Avalanche uniform.
But Colorado would find themselves shorthanded yet again a couple minutes later following an Andreas Martinsen hi-sticking penalty. Three seconds later—no joke—Andy Greene threw a shot into the net almost immediately off the faceoff that was initially waived off for goalie interference. Unfortunately for the Avalanche, the Devils would demand a review before the puck could drop and it was eventually determined Miles Wood had not made contact with Jeremy Smith prior to scoring. The decision put New Jersey back up 2-1.
The Devils would strike again in the second, this one starting while the Avs controlled the puck in the New Jersey zone. Matt Nieto, trying to retrieve the puck and throw it around the boards completely whiffed and gave a two-on-one going the other way to Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri. After an excellent give-and-go play and an ineffective defense by Goloubef, Palmieri slammed it home to extend their lead to 3-1.
Colorado, however, would get one back before the period ended. Matt Duchene stole the puck in the New Jersey zone and set up Mikhail Grigorenko a perfect feed in the high slot, which he promptly fired a low one-timer past Devils’ goalie Cory Schneider to draw the game within one.
Sadly, that's all they would muster. Neither team would score in the third period and the Avalanche will head to Buffalo on Thursday to salvage whatever they can out of this road—and season.