The Colorado Avalanche traveled to the Great White North for a set of back-to-back games following their four-day long mini break. The Avalanche were looking for revenge against the Calgary Flames for their 3-2 overtime defeat in Denver a couple weeks ago. Unfortunately, Colorado’s misfortune against Calgary continued in a horrific 4-1 collapse following a questionable call in the second period, and ultimately fell 6-5 in a shocking defeat. Colorado gave up five straight goals to start the third period and simply couldn’t recover, even after making it a one-goal game late.
Vladislav Kamenev and Sheldon Dries each scored their first career NHL goals in this game, but no one’s going to remember that now.
The first period was uneventful but the Avalanche did have to weather a 4-13 shot advantage by the Flames in the early goings.
It was a different story in the second period when the much maligned secondary scoring saved the day. Vladislav Kamenev scored his first NHL goal at 3:22 on a fantastic shorthanded rifle of a shot and the Avalanche were on the board.
Rookie scoring wasn’t done there, as Sheldon Dries followed up Kamenev’s goal almost immediately with his own first NHL marker of his career at 5:12 of the second on a deflection from in front of the net.
Mikael Backlund would get one back at 6:34 for the Flames after an ugly coverage sequence, but Colin Wilson and Carl Soderberg replied with two of their own, and from there, the Avalanche looked to put this game on cruise control with a 4-1 lead nearing the end of the second period.
The Game Misconduct
A bit of drama at the end of the second would ensue and eventually change the entire complexion of the game. Ian Cole would lay a big, clean hit on Mark Jankowski in the neutral zone, causing the Flames roster to lose their minds. Not only would Cole get jumped by Sam Bennett, but he would get tossed out of the game, taking a five-minute charging major and a game misconduct with him to the showers.
It was that five-minute penalty that turned the tide in the game.
The first goal in the comeback that the Avs gave up was a power play goal that the team was still killing from the Cole major; Elias Lindholm less than a minute into the period. The bleeding would not stop there as the Avalanche gave up four more unanswered goals over the next 14 minutes, and shockingly found themselves trailing the game 6-4 with five minutes to go.
Goaltender Semyon Varlamov was pulled in favor of the extra attacker during a late third period power play, and the Avalanche cosmetically got back within striking distance with a Gabriel Landeskog goal at 18:57, but it was all but over at that point.
Avs lose 6-5.
- Quite ironic how the hammer was laid down on Cole in this contest after Bennett took out JT Compher in their last meeting with an unpenalized — and subsequently unpunished — hit to the head, which Compher is still recovering from. Usually when the physicality gets turned up in a game, the Avalanche have to just deal with it and adjust, but when they bring the edge, they find themselves as the ones to pay for it. This time the call was a major catalyst in changing the complexion of the game.
- Lost in the frightening collapse and goals scored left and right is the fact that coach Jared Badnar completely mixed up his lines in the last two periods of this game. This paid immediate dividends when Dries scored while on a line with Alexander Kerfoot and Colin Wilson, which was likely the impetus to keep the blender going. However, the mixing and matching — not to mention the loss of Cole’s impact on the defensive pairs — didn’t help matters when it came to scrambled defensive coverage and turnovers on breakouts. A fresh approach to a few of the secondary lines is welcome but the total blender went a little far. It will be interesting to see if any of the experimented combinations stick in the next game.
- What will also be forgotten from this game is the milestones for both Kamenev and Dries in scoring their first career goals. It is a great accomplishment for them and should be positive reinforcement for Bednar to keep increasing their minutes and roles. This game should have been about secondary scoring stepping up and securing a win, but instead it was about an embarrassing loss filled with drama and spite. Still, both rookies played well and should stick around in the lineup.
Thankfully the Avalanche head to British Columbia immediately to help erase the taste of this game to face the Vancouver Canucks on Friday, November 2nd at 8pm MT before another four-day hiatus.