The Colorado Avalanche turned in yet another solid two-period performance tonight against the visiting Edmonton Oilers, blowing a 4-2 lead in the final frame to add yet another embarrassing loss to their league-worst total.
The home team wasted little time finding their way on to the scoreboard. Sven Andrighetto applied some forechecking pressure near the Oilers’ blue line, causing an errant pass to Mikko Rantanen in the neutral. He then sent the puck across the ice to Nathan MacKinnon, who pushed ahead and fed Rantanen a perfect set up for his fifteenth goal on the year, giving Colorado a 1-0 lead less than four minutes into the contest.
Fellow rookie J.T. Compher also got in on the action before the halfway point in the period. After an extended possession in the Oilers’ zone, Compher and Joe Colborne executed a give-and-go play that resulted in a wide-open one-timer for Compher inside the right circle. The goal was his second on the season since being called up three weeks ago following the March 1st trade deadline.
Colorado nearly went into the locker room up 2-0 after 20 minutes, but that would have been too easy. With 37 seconds left, Andrei Sekera unloaded a shot from the point that looked and sounded like backup goalie Jeremy Smith made the stop, but his subsequent movements to regain his stance leaked the puck directly behind him—possibly even providing some extra assistance by kicking it. The goal was Sekera’s eight on the year.
Just 26 seconds into the second period the Oilers would strike again, this time after numerous failed defensive efforts by Burgundy & Blue-clad players in their own zone. Andrighetto whiffed while attempt to play the puck near the blue and then one blunder after another commenced until Milan Lucic received a pass in front of the net and buried his 18th of the season to tie the game up two-all.
Later in the period, Mikko Rantanen would register another goal on an odd-man rush opportunity. Nathan MacKinnon caught a pass in his skates and kicked the puck to his stick in one fluid motion, just as he was cross Edmonton’s blue line. He then dished another perfect pass to Rantanen, who fired a blistering one-timer for his 16th goal, giving Colorado back the lead.
Colorado would even extend this lead following a Rene Bourque dump-in at the blue line. He sent the puck around the boards, chased it down and fed Joe Colborne, who was situated down low behind the Oilers’ net. He then shrugged off his defender and pass back out front to Bourque, who buried his 12th of the year to make it 4-2. A respectable lead that any normal NHL team should expect to protect.
Sadly, the Avalanche are not your average NHL team.
They would allow—not one, not two, not three, not four—but FIVE goals to a team they were more or less dominating through 40 minutes. How does this happen? Ladies and gentlemen, I have no explanation, nor do I have any energy to recap it in detail. Just trust me that it happened and it was as terrible and deflating as you might imagine.
This team has now given up 17 goals during the third periods of its last four games. I have no words.