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Avalanche drop another at home, lose 2-1 to the Kings

Offense, where art thou?

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Calvin Pickard stopped 30-of-32 shots and Mikko Rantanen would score for his third straight game, but the Colorado Avalanche would drop yet another game at home to the Los Angeles Kings in a middling effort.

By now you have a pretty good idea of what an Avalanche home game first period looks like. No one can connect on a pass, constantly stuck in their own zone, endure a really lopsided shot total—ya-da, ya-da, ya-da. The results of this poor play can be either one of two things: they get down an insurmountable amount of goals or Calvin Pickard makes a bunch of saves and keeps his team in the game. Tonight was the latter, with the Avalanche goalie turning away all 12 goals in the opening 20 minutes of play. That doesn’t mean it was pretty—and it certainly doesn’t mean they deserved it. Colorado would only manage five shots themselves (resulting in precisely zero goals), and would be doubled up in 5v5 attempts.

The Avalanche would see their fortunes reverse for a time in the second. Just half a minute into the period, rookie sensation Mikko Rantanen would strip all-world defender Drew Doughty of the puck (and likely his lunch money) at his own blue line and beat goalie Peter Budaj far post for his 14th goal of the season.

A few minutes later, Doughty would get his revenge moving the puck through the neutral zone and dishing to Adrian Kempe across the blue line and into the Avalanche zone. But instead of occupying space near the back of the rush like 98% of all hockey defensemen, immediate bolted toward the Avalanche net, surprising an unsuspecting Blake Comeau. Doughty then received a pass back from Kempe and quickly slid it over for a crashing Tyler Toffoli, who put it past Pickard with some quick hands to tie the game.

Trevor Lewis would give Los Angeles its first lead later in the period. Mikko Rantanen, attempting to dangle a defenseman in the Kings’ zone, lost the puck to Tanner Pearson, who soon found Lewis moving up the ice with speed. Tyson Barrie, initially in position, underestimated his opponent’s speed and never got turned around fast enough to make a play. He instead got a prime seat to watch Lewis go around him on the outside and make a nice skating play back to the slot before burying the puck for his eighth goal on the year.

Worthy attempts to tie the game would be made in the third, including a pair of shots off the post, but Colorado would not be able to muster a final-frame comeback for the second game in a row. The loss sunk their record to a (still) league-worst 16-39-3 and are getting more challenging to watch by the game.