Continuing on the marathon schedule for the Colorado Avalanche, they played their third game of the week against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes with two more to go before the holiday break. Missed opportunities caught up to the Avalanche as they drop this game with a 3-1 final score in which they were leading until the final three minutes.
On the second night of a back-to-back the Avalanche looked like it as they were a bit lethargic through the first period but held off Carolina and their 16 shots on goal. Energy levels picked up in the second period as the teams traded power plays but nothing found the back of the net. The Avalanche even had 21 seconds of a 5-on-3 but the best chance of the game at that point was a Nathan MacKinnon shot which went off the post and in behind goaltender James Reimer and then fell into his pants. Still, the score was goose eggs through two periods.
Finally on their sixth power play the Avalanche broke through the stalemate with a tally from MacKinnon at 4:05 into the third period. Initially it looked like Gabe Landeskog tipped the puck in front of the net but the goal currently stands as MacKinnon’s.
The two points looked to be in the bag as the Avalanche ground through the rest of the third period until at 17:03 Andrei Svechnikov drove through to the front of the net and deflected the puck past Philipp Grubauer. To make matters worse just a minute later Jaccob Slavin caught the Avalanche in poor rush coverage and fired the winning goal into the net. Sebastian Aho added an empty net goal with just second left for the third marker.
- Erik Johnson returned from his 11 game injury absence in this contest. He was paired mostly with Anton Lindholm and played just over 20 minutes including penalty kill and second unit power play time. He looked like he was moving well and included a couple “condor” special rushes in what made a positive return for Johnson.
- On the flip side, Nikita Zadorov did not play the entire third period and just over 10 minutes total in what coach Bednar described as “coaching decision”. Adding to the curiosity Zadorov was the only Avalanche with over 50% Corsi for on the evening and did not take any penalties.
- Blowing the lead will be the focus of this game outcome but counting on grabbing a victory with only one goal scored is a faulty plan at best. Goaltending was good on both sides but there were many opportunities missed to put this game away and slumping to 17th in the league with a 18.6% conversion rate on the power play is not good enough for a team with the offensive talent and even strength scoring they provide.
One day of rest and then back at it again at home against familiar foe the Chicago Blackhawks at 7:00pm MT on Saturday, December 21st.