The Colorado Avalanche dropped their sixth straight game in a 5-4 loss to the San Jose Sharks at home on national television. The Avalanche — who had a great first, embarassing second, and fruitless third against the Sharks on Wednesday night — now fall even with the Dallas Stars for third in the Central Division with 46 points in 41 games. Unfortunately, the Stars carry two extra ROW (regulation/overtime wins), so they leap over the Avs.
Things weren’t all bad. A silver lining in this game was found in the form of a Tyson Barrie milestone goal in the third period of the almost-comeback. With his fifth goal of the season, the Avalanche defenseman tied John-Michael Liles for first in the franchises all-time record in points by a defenseman with 275. Liles did it with 68 goals and 207 assists, Barrie tired his record with a near-identical 66 goals and 209 assists.
An early hooking penalty by Tyson Barrie on Joe Pavelski allowed the Sharks gain some real momentum right at the beginning of the game.
Pavelski made Barrie pay by scoring the games first goal on ensuing power play. Brent Burns and Logan Couture opened up a lane for Pavelski on the left side of the ice by both moving towards the right. From there, the Sharks captain just needed to beat Erik Johnson and a moving Philipp Grubauer in order to score.
Nathan MacKinnon started the play by driving right through the heart of the Sharks defense, drawing a hooking penalty in the process. But he didn’t let the Sharks kill the play. Instead, he grabbed the puck in the corner, and set up Matt Calvert for a one-timer that beat Martin Jones.
Patrik Nemeth (holding) and Calvert (high-sticking) each took a penalty within a minute of each other, and Erik Karlsson set up Burns for an easy one-timer into the top corner. Grubauer had no chance at stopping a point-blank one-timer in the perfect spot with a screen in front.
Since John Forslund and Pierre McGuire were never going to give you any real information during the national NBCSN broadcast, here are the numbers from the first period.
Despite the narrative that the Sharks owned that first period, the Avalanche actually destroyed the Sharks in shot attempts at even strength (17-7), and at shots (9-2), and at scoring chances (9-4).
The big issue for the Avs in the first period was the three penalties taken. The penalty kill was also pretty bad. They were not aggressive at all and allowed several clean looks. If I was coach Bednar, I’d have told my players to move their feet better, and get their sticks in the passing lanes. It just takes a little more effort. Enough oogling at the hair of San Jose’s defenseman.
Barrie overskated a dumped in puck, and Evander Kane was able to sweep around the back of the net and roof a shot on Grubauer. Barrie would want that play back, and even though he was badly screened by Barrie, Grubauer definitely should’ve had it.
Joonis Donskoi caught all the Avalanche flat-footed in the defensive zone, and beat Grubauer on the wrap-a-round. Another stinker.
And that was it for Grubauer. He got the yank after giving up four goals on 16 shots in exchange for Pavel Francouz. Anyone know if/when Semyon Varlamov will be healthy again?
A couple Avs and Sharks players got into a heated scrum for the puck along the boards that resulted ina scrum after the whistle was blown. It wasn’t anything major — no punches were thrown — but that didn’t stop Kyle Keefe from having a grit orgasm on Twitter.
Were due for a rumble.— Kyle Keefe (@kylekeefetv) January 3, 2019
Time for some nasty.
Once again the Avs got caught making a mistake without numbers back. Ian Cole lost the puck at the blueline and allowed a 3-on-1 going the other way. Pavelski got the initial shot, but it was Lukas Radil who put home the rebound. The puck bounced off the cross-bar and off Francouz’s pad, but after a review it was deemed a goal.
Tyson Jost got one back not long after a great set up from in front of the net from J.T. Compher. I really liked how Jost left the play in order to lose his check, before coming back at the perfect time with speed. That deception and play against the grain is really something that I think can be used effectively against uber-structured defense corps.
As good as the Avs were in the first period, they were that bad in the second. At even-strength, the Avs gave up 23 shot attempts to their own 13, they were out-shot 11-13, and out-chanced 7-10.
There were simply too many odd-man chances against in that period. Grubauer played like crap, but so did his team in front of him. Like so many times, they got overwhelmed when facing opposing rushes and took to collapsing in front of their goalie instead of pushing to regain the puck. Often times teams do that when they are holding the lead late in the game. There’s not much more a team can do when the opposition pulls their goalie. The only problem with the Avs doing it in the second period was that they had never held at any point in the game.
For the first half of the period, Francouz really held the fort. He was forced to make some really difficult stops, ones that definitely would have ended the game. However, he stopped them all, giving his team a chance for a comeback.
Like on most nights, Tyson Barrie made up for his earlier mistakes with a gorgeous goal only a handful of defensemen in the league can pull off. He jumped into the play, and sniped a perfect shot into the top corner, past Jones to bring the Avalanche within two with less than eight minutes left in the game.
With 3:24 left in the game, and the Avs on the power play, Jost got his second goal of the game, tipping home a point shot from Samuel Girard. It’s crazy to think that Jost scored 1⁄3 of his goals this season in this game.
The Avs tried until the last gasp, but ultimately couldn’t come away with the goal to tie the game. At the end of the game, all three shot metrics were pretty much even between the two teams, but it was the major mistakes on the defensive side (and let’s be real, Grubauer) that cost the Avs a chance at the win.
Colorado will look to regain third spot in the Central Division when the New York Rangers come to town on Friday night. 7:00 pm MT start. NYR just lost 7-2 to Pittsburgh, so that’s good, at least.