Hoping to bounce back from the loss at home against the Washington Capitals would require a better effort from the Colorado Avalanche as they headed up to the Pacific Northwest to face the Seattle Kraken. That was not the case as the Avalanche fell behind early and could not get enough offense going in a 3-2 loss to Seattle.
A poor start doomed this game from the beginning as Avalanche netminder Pavel Francouz let the game’s first score get by him just over a minute into the contest when Kole Lind snuck behind the coverage for his second goal of the season.
Things did not improve from there as more coverage confusion left Jordan Eberle alone in front of the net to pick the top corner on Francouz at 5:23. Yanni Gourde would complete the trifecta as he scored at 14:44 when the puck deflected off his skate and Francouz was mostly out of his net and put Seattle up 3-0.
Cale Makar made the game a little more interesting scoring his 27th goal of the season off a great feed from Nazem Kadri down low and there were signs of life with just over two minutes left in the first period with the score now 3-1 in the home team’s favor.
The Avalanche received two power plays in the second period but they could not convert. Good news is they were able to stop the bleeding and Seattle was held off the board as well but they did manage a 12-7 shot advantage.
For the final frame the game was mostly the same of the Avalanche filing to execute and really make a push in this match. Artturi Lehkonen was rewarded for one of the most consistent efforts doing what he does best which is cleaning up garbage at the net front at 16:40. The Avalanche pulled Francouz for the extra attacker but couldn’t get any great looks and the game ended in a 3-2 Seattle final.
As the final two weeks of the regular season unfold the rest vs rust debate will only get stronger. The Avalanche obviously don’t have much to play for but to put out a product that barely resembles the well-oiled machine they’ve built is a bit unsettling. Not having a full squad is a big part of that and understandable but getting ready for the playoffs is important too.
Speaking of rest, the Avalanche received Nazem Kadri back tonight who looked healthy but rusty. Mikko Rantanen did not dress due to a non-Covid illness so it was difficult to find much offensive rhythm in any of the lines. Digging out of an early three goal hole proved difficult without all the weapons available.
One other positive from the contest was Bowen Byram who played over 24 minutes in this contest. He got several good looks and created scoring chances including one shorthanded. One benefit to Devon Toews staying home during this trip is Byram getting more playing time including on the penalty kill and second power play unit. Once he fully finds his groove again those chances will start turning into goals.
The road trip continues at the Edmonton Oilers at 7 p.m. MT on Friday. April 22nd.