The Colorado Avalanche have found life difficult as of late. They’ve lost some star power, faltering on the ice along the way. This was the case once again on Saturday night, as they gave up five unanswered goals to the New York Islanders, falling 5-4.
Early season struggles continue to be a theme for the Avs, as they end the month of October 4-4-1. It’s certainly easy to say that this is a Stanley Cup hangover, and there are plenty of things to sort out up and down the lineup. For the Avs, they’ve lost two in a row for the first time since the end of last year against the Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild.
Similar to the first period against the New Jersey Devils, there was not much to discuss from the period. Each goalie had a couple of saves that were necessary, including former Av Semyon Varlamov. He had his best save of the period on a Logan O’Connor breakaway that he almost let in after backing into his own net.
However, the Islanders turned it up after this. They tested Alexandar Georgiev a few times, including Cal Clutterbuck beating him but hitting the crossbar. The Avs fought back though through a solid penalty kill and half of a power play which saw chances, but none in the net. They had the second half of the power play to get on the board to start the second period.
The second half of the power play turned out to be successful. Evan Rodrigues slapped one home from the slot thanks to a nice Mikko Rantanen pass to take the lead.
The Avs were not done there though. After barely not converting on another power play and Rantanen taking a phantom goaltender interference penalty, the wildest sequence of the game played out. Georgiev stopped everything in his tracks in a goalmouth scramble. Rantanen came out of the box to assist, but was found by Josh Manson on a breakaway to double the lead.
Just 1:05 later, Colorado wasn’t done. Rodrigues got his second of the game after deflecting a Nathan MacKinnon shot from the point to beat Varlamov, take a 3-0 lead, and force the Islanders to take their timeout.
But just 1:20 after the previous goal, Noah dobson on the Isles defense found some space and slapped one home to finally beat Georgiev and get on the board.
This pushed New York on to try and cut into the lead a little more. Georgiev continued to be dominant in the crease, following every puck nicely. Despite MacKinnon hitting the iron during the dominant sequence by the Islanders, the lead would be two with 20 minutes to go.
Despite a strong start to the period for Colorado, the familiar Zach Parise would capitalize on a goalmouth scramble to cut the lead to 3-2.
It would not get any better for the Avs, as MacKinnon took a cross-checking penalty. While it would be killed off, it gave the Islanders a ton of momentum. This allowed Scott Mayfield to tie it with a tip down low, and then Anthony Beauvillier gave them the lead just 20 seconds after the tying goal.
The Avs played angrily for the rest of the game, specifically Makar who was throwing hits and leading rushes down the ice. However, while trying to get the puck down low with an empty net, his stick exploded in his hands and left him helpless as Brock Nelson then put the puck in to seemingly kill off the game 5-3.
However, Alex Newhook scored one more on a rebounded shot for his first of the year with just under 30 seconds left to perhaps give the Avs a chance, down 5-4.
Despite the late goal, the Avs could not get anything going in the final 30 seconds and it was going to be difficult anyways. Colorado suffered their second straight loss in two days, this time at least in a high-scoring affair 5-4.
While things started off hot for the Avalanche, it collapsed really badly in the second half of the game. Simply put: there should not be five unanswered goals scored on this team. They should not be leaving Georgiev out to dry and running circles as they were on the game-tying goal. The Avs have a lot of time to reflect on what the past two games have had to offer, and need to make adjustments accordingly.
Depth is still a talking point for this team missing plenty of their big names. Hopefully, Newhook can start to get going after getting his first goal of the year but outside of that it still hasn’t been great. O’Connor stood out at points in this game but did not get on the scoresheet. Jared Bednar switched lines around which worked to an extent. The personnel is still missing though, and there’s plenty of work to still be done in that department.
Meanwhile, Rodrigues had probably his best game of the year to this point, with two goals. He’s slowly getting into his tempo as an Avs player and did well on the first line. While he is filling some large shoes for Nazem Kadri and the now-injured Valeri Nichushkin, he’s done alright as of late. Hopefully, he continues to keep it up and do the same thing overseas.
The Avs get an extended break as they head overseas to Finland. They have five days off to prepare for the NHL Global Series against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Their first game is Friday afternoon, with puck drop at 12 p.m. MT.