With the loss, Colorado now trails Nashville by three points, and Winnipeg by two points in the Central Division.
Colton Parayko struck twine just three minutes into the game to give the Blues an early 1-0 lead. O’Reilly threw a pass across the rink to the young defenseman, who blasted a one-time slapshot past Philipp Grubauer. Parayko has turned into one of the elite blueliners in the league and he was given way too much space, and Colorado started the game from behind for the third straight game.
But depth scoring, which may or may not actually be resurging for the Avalanche this season, came through for Colorado minutes later. Some svelte moves from Sven Andrighetto tied the contest on a mini-breakaway off a pass from J.T. Compher.
But as strong as the second line was, the third line might have been better. Matt Calvert was all over the place, moving his legs, doing all the gritty plays, so on and so forth, that Colorado sought when they signed him last summer. Midway through the first period, he beat Jake Allen on a wraparound to give the Avalanche a 2-1 lead.
Allen had a strong game in net for the Blues, stopping 39 of the Avs’ 42 shots on goal, but this was a pretty weak tally he allowed from Calvert.
At the tail end of the first period, Colorado allowed Ivan Barber Shop — err... Ivan Barbashev — to tie the game 2-2 off a feed from Jay Bouwmeester. It was Barbashev’s 23rd birthday on Friday and we all wish he could have celebrated it in a different way.
After the second period brought ample opportunities — all of which were denied by strong goaltending from Allen and Philipp Grubauer — Parayko scored his second of the game early in the third. The former Alaska Nanook took a pass from Vince Dunn to put St. Louis back ahead.
Colorado brought the game to overtime when Compher scored a power play marker after jumping on a rebound from a Nathan MacKinnon shot. Mikko Rantanen earned the secondary assist for his 53rd point of the season, still a week and a half before Christmas.
For Compher, who fought Brayden Schenn in the first period, the goal gave him a Gordie Howe hat trick (a goal, assist, and a fighting major), a rarity in the NHL nowadays.
The overtime session was really strange. On a long offensive-zone possession for Rantanen, MacKinnon, and Sam Girard, Parayko accidentally dropped his stick in the corner behind the net. Vladimir Tarasenko, doing as any forward should, handed Parayko his own twig, then later in the shift, picked up Parayko’s stick (even though it’s wrong-handed for him) without any intuition of his own possible wrongdoing. The referee whistled Tarasenko for an illegal stick violation and the St. Louis crowd howled.
What was the call?
Berube says that because Parayko is one of a few players in the NHL who has an "exempt" stick (height leading to longer stick), it's illegal for anyone else to use it. For example, Tarasenko could have used Schwartz's stick, just not Parayko's. Crazy rule but good eye by the ref.— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) December 15, 2018
On a technicality, the Avalanche were given a gift of an opportunity, an overtime power-play chance, on which... of course... they allowed the game-winning goal on a shorthanded goal from Ryan O’Reilly. Bad karma on a ticky-tack call, I guess.
- This happened, seriously:
"I don't know who's been a better free agent signing in the entire National Hockey League than that man right there" - the Altitude broadcast, talking about IAN COLE— Skyler Gilbert (@skylerjgilbert) December 15, 2018
- The last Avalanche player to record a Gordie Howe hat trick before tonight was Steve Downie on October 2, 2013. It’d been over five years.
- Colorado is now 1-6 in games settled past regulation this season, which defies all common sense.
- The Avalanche have lost six of their last eight games against the Blues.
- For Rantanen, his third-period assist extended his point streak to 13 games, tied with Alex Ovechkin (who had his second-straight hat trick Friday) for the longest active streak in the NHL.
- Andrighetto has game-changing speed and Colorado has to try more of these stretch plays from their second line. Andrighetto played a terrific game overall — not just the first-period tally — and it was pretty encouraging.
The Avalanche will face the Dallas Stars at the Pepsi Center on Saturday night. Colorado is 2-1-1 in the second game of a back-to-back this season.