The Colorado Avalanche struggled in their first game back from the holiday freeze, dropping a 6-4 contest to the Minnesota Wild in their first attempt to shake off the Christmas break rust.
While they were able to keep the game much closer on Saturday night, though, Ben Bishop’s stellar shootout performance saw him deny all of the Avalanche shots he faced — and two goals against Philipp Grubauer during the skills competition ultimately saw the visiting team skate away with just one point on the night.
A combined 83 shots for both teams through regulation and extra time meant that Grubauer and Bishop were kept plenty busy, and their performances overall were both stellar. But for a team hoping to pull back towards the St. Louis Blues at the top of the Central, the outcome was still a disappointment overall.
The Avalanche got off to a shaky start against Dallas on Saturday night, allowing the first goal of the game just 1:08 into the first period. Tyler Seguin was able to capitalize on a pass from Alexander Radulov when Grubauer overcommitted to his left side, leaving Seguin with a wide-open net to give the Stars the lead barely a minute into game action.
The Avalanche struggled to get the game back on their side for the remainder of the first period, allowing 12 shots while just taking eight of their own. But a late period goal from JT Compher started to turn the tides, and the remainder of the affair was a high-shot, high-action game that boasted excellent goaltending from both Grubauer and Bishop.
The Avalanche nabbed their first and only lead of the game 7:19 into a messy, penalty-filled second period (both teams took a combined five penalties, with the Avalanche getting caught for holding, tripping, and a delay of game by Cale Makar), when Ian Cole scored his third tally of the season thanks to a quick puck catch and shot on Bishop in net.
The Stars managed to tie it back up again in the third with Denis Gurianov’s ninth goal of the season, though, which took the already-tired Avalanche to OT.
It was all thanks to Philipp Grubauer that the Avalanche even made it to the shootout, as the starting goaltender stopped a whopping seven shots on goal during the five minute OT period. But ultimately, the shootout is what did him in — and sent the Avalanche on to their matchup against the rapidly-advancing Winnipeg Jets without getting a win in either of their first two games back from the break.