For the third time in the past 10 days, the Colorado Avalanche lose to a last place team. Last night, the Avs brought an end to 2018 with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings. It was Colorado’s fifth lost in a row and ninth in their last 11 games.
If you want to look on the bright side, at least the Avalanche were able to salvage a point by taking then game to overtime after trailing 2-0 going into the third period.
This wasn’t the most exciting game for those who hung around through the first two periods. The teams combined for only 29 shots on net through the first 40 minutes. Drew Doughty finally opened the scoring in the first minutes of the second period and Sean Walker doubled the lead ten minutes later.
Things got interesting early in the third as the Avalanche brought the game to 2-1 only 32 seconds into the period. The goal came on a nice rush - by who else? - as Mikko Rantanen fed Nathan MacKinnon with a beautiful cross-ice pass.
After holding the Kings without a shot for the first half of the period, it looked like only a matter of time before the Avalanche tied the game up. Then with Semyon Varlamov on his way to the bench for the extra attacker it was Big Ol’ Carl Soderberg that was able to tip home a Tyson Barrie point shot to tie the game up with less than two minutes left in regulation.
Soderberg’s 11th goal of the season gave the Avs new life and helped the team salvage a point for the second straight game.
Unfortunately it meant overtime - and we all know what that means. Less than a minute into the extra frame, it was Dustin Brown who scored to give the Kings a 3-2 victory. The Avalanche are now 1-8 in overtime and shootouts this season. An inexplicable record given the fact that Coach Bednar can throw out two of the best offensive forwards in the league to start every 3 on 3 period.
Colorado now leads the NHL with eight losses after regulation - a bunch of lost points that could come back to haunt them in the playoff race this spring.
The Avs outplayed Los Angeles for most of the game, but they were done in by a lack of urgency for the first two periods as well as a lopsided goaltending matchup.
Jonathan Quick made a couple big saves early in the game that could have changed momentum significantly. In the opposite net, it wasn’t a great start for Varlamov who was only able to muster 16 saves on the evening so there is a very good chance we see Philipp Grubauer tomorrow night against the San Jose Sharks.
December was a horrendous month for an Avalanche team that will now look to turn things around in the new year. Still sitting in third in the division, the Avs have plenty of time to right the ship but if the continue to be unable to score more than two goals a game, it’s only a matter of time before their on the outside of the playoff picture.
Look on the bright side - the two points for the Kings means that the Ottawa Senators now sit dead last in the entire NHL. Let’s go watch some World Juniors.