Resilience is something that a team needs and builds upon. The Avs have done that in the past, especially last season with their run to the Stanley Cup. However, they need to solidify it just a little more due to recent events.
The Avs seemed to come out hot, as they had the game's best three chances up to that point. However, in some sort of fashion, they did not end up in the net, which left Philipp Grubauer swimming in his crease.
This led the Kraken to grow into the game more, concluding with a monstrous fight between Kurtis MacDermid and Jamie Oleksiak. After killing off an Andrew Cogliano hooking penalty, the Avs and Kraken remained scoreless.
The Kraken continued their growth in the game which ultimately led to a goal from Jaden Schwartz, coming on the power play. The Alex Newhook holding penalty ultimately cost them as they fell 1-0 on the PK once again.
Just 20 seconds later, Pavel Francouz played his worst puck of the night behind the net. It led to it squibbing out in front which was pounced on by Jared McCann. While Francouz will end up in “Steve’s Dang-It’s” next week, more importantly, it left his team behind 2-0.
The Avs did find some spirit in them to get a goal back though. This time, it would be newcomer Evan Rodrigues getting his first of the season connecting with Valeri Nichushkin. With his struggles, it had to feel good to get back within one.
A flurry of penalties from both sides and a couple of decisive saves from Francouz kept the Avs within one. While they had to kill off a Byram interference penalty to start the third, the Avs looked to bring it back even.
After killing off the penalty, more infraction penalties arose when Nathan MacKinnon committed a hooking penalty on a great Francouz save-down low. But, this actually benefitted the Avs who capitalized on a Nichushkin rush that ended with a Byram one-timer lighting the lamp. His celebration was one to remember as he brought his team back level.
The physical play was only emphasized from here on out, as several big hits were thrown by MacDermid and Erik Johnson. Midway through the period, the Kraken pulled Grubauer due to an injury on the Byram goal. The Avs looked to grab the lead on a cold Martin Jones but failed to do so, only testing him once.
On the other end of the ice, it would be the Kraken who would break the deadlock. Karson Khulman beat MacDermid to the puck with both speed and physicality and managed to poke it through Francouz. Late on, the Kraken edged out to a 3-2 lead.
They didn’t look back as Newhook committed another critical penalty for high sticking with 2:53 left. It left the Avs with no time after killing off the penalty to get anything set and suffer a second-straight setback.
Penalties continued to be an issue for the Avs, who were in the box for 15 minutes. It gave the Kraken their first goal of the game and ultimately left them with no chance to get an equalizer in the final minutes. Jared Bednar has mentioned limiting penalties and being better on the kill when called upon. They didn’t do either great tonight.
Rodrigues and Nichushkin seemed to find a good connection on the ice tonight. Their goal in the second period was beautifully set up and was certainly needed for Rodrigues, who has struggled in his first five games as an Av. Hopefully, the two continue to get better and improve once the Captain returns from injury.
Francouz was stellar at times in this game, keeping the Avalanche in it with the Kraken nearly doubling the Avs in shots 38-20. However, the third Kraken goal was too easy to give up at such a critical point in the game. While MacDermid did not help his cause - nor his defense as a whole by giving up that many shots - it’s one he’ll want to have back.
The Avs are right back at it in 24 hours against the Vegas Golden Knights. It’s their second back-to-back in two weeks, and they will be tested after traveling late and tired from Friday night’s affair. Puck drop is tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. MT.