Sven Andrighetto would score twice, keeping the Avalanche in the game most of the night before they ultimately fell to the Calgary Flames 4-2. The loss dropped the Avalanche to 0-2 on the two-game Canadian road trip and to 20-51-3 overall, which remains dead last in the NHL—and in our hearts.
Tonight’s announcers could barely get through the lineups tonight before Joe Colborne was called for a tripping penalty on Johnny Gaudreau. Seriously—it was just 23 seconds into the game. Because that’s what well-paid NHL hockey players do, right? A minute later on the power play, Calgary would take advantage of the five-on-four opportunity, working the puck up toward the blue line to T.J. Brodie. He then passed back to Sean Monahan, who fired a shot in the general direction of the goal, off Erik Johnson’s skate and past Calvin Pickard for his 26th goal on the season.
Pickard would manage to stop the Flames’ next seven shots-on-goal in the period, but Avalanche would fail to muster much offense on the other end of the ice. Except for one golden near-miss opportunity for Mikko Rantanen, Colorado would generate just six shots-on-goal in the opening frame (11 attempts overall), leaving much to be desired by an increasingly weary fan base.
Calgary would strike again early in the second period, this time at even strength. Sean Monahan beat his man to the puck along the half-boards sent it down low for Mr. Johnny Hockey, who soon found himself unguarded when Carl Soderberg and Mark Barberio couldn’t decide who was supposed to defend him. Seizing the opportunity, he threw the puck out front into the slot and Michael Ferland and buried the puck amid way too many disengaged Burgundy & Blue jerseys to give the flames a 2-0 lead.
Colorado would cut the lead to one early in the third period following a Michael Stone tripping penalty on Gabriel Landeskog. After the Avs got set up in the offensive zone, Nathan MacKinnon teed up a one-timer for Erik Johnson at the point, who fired wide of the net off the rear boards and right to an awaiting Sven Andrighetto, who found the back of the net for his sixth goal of the season. It was his fourth goal (and eighth point) since joining the Avalanche after the March 1st trade deadline.
Sadly, that brief glimmer of hope would soon dissolve into the typical hopelessness to which we’ve grown accustomed when Calvin Pickard fired the puck over his own glass during a clearing attempt. Joe Colborne would serve the penalty and Troy Brouwer would oblige with scoring his 13th goal on the season. The play was set up by a long Kris Versteeg pass through the neutral zone to Sean Monahan, who caught Anton Lindolm off-guard down ice and made a beautiful cross-ice setup pass to Brouwer for his third point on the evening.
Andrighetto would find the net again late in the third to make things interesting, but would also get called for the World’s Softest Hooking Penalty with 37 seconds left while the Avalanche were trying to capitalize on an empty-net opportunity. Johnny Gaudreau would instead skate past Francois Beauchemin like he was standing still and score upon the vacated net to pad his stats and seal the victory for his Flames.
Colorado will play again on Wednesday against he first place Washington Capitals (49-17-8).