After a much-needed three-day break the Colorado Avalanche were back in action at the home of the Arizona Coyotes looking to build on the momentum of the two wins prior to the holiday. What should have been a routine win turned into another third period comeback as the Avalanche fell in overtime 5-4.
The Avalanche came out of the gate with some focused energy but the first period was fairly uneventful except for a brief Josh Manson matching roughing type skirmish with Jason Zucker until the visitors cashed in on the power play. It was looking a bit slow but Mikko Rantanen finally hit his spot with the one-timer for the game’s first goal at 18:13.
A little positive momentum led to the team finding the gas pedal in the second period as Jonathan Drouin scored just over a minute into the period. They were just getting started as Logan O’Connor scored on a wrap-around goal at 7:56. And then Nathan MacKinnon topped it off with another power play goal at 13:26 after a brief 5-on-3 for a 4-0 lead halfway through the game. Lawson Crouse got one back at 16:31 as he found himself alone in front for a pass from the boards but the score was 4-1 Colorado after 40 minutes of play.
Clearly the Avalanche thought 40 minutes was enough to win a hockey game but they forgot that the Coyotes don’t quit especially at home. The comeback started at 3:48 on a goal from up high by Michael Kesserling. Things really started to unravel on a wrap-around goal at 7:04 from Jason Zucker. Then it was ten minutes of running around the defensive zone until the Coyotes pulled their goaltender. At first they didn’t create much danger but Sean Durzi snuck one in from the point to tie the game with just over two minutes remaining.
Luckily the Avalanche held on for a point so it wasn’t a repeat of the Nashville loss but this overtime period didn’t go so well either. After three minutes of passing the puck around with no real threat the Avalanche decided turnovers would be the way to go and after a full comedy of errors Jack McBain scored at 4:40 to give Arizona the 5-4 victory.
After getting depth scoring from Drouin and O’Connor four goals should have been enough to win and it usually is. But everyone contributed to the collapse as team defense began to get lax and coupled with a bunch of risky plays with the puck including spinning back and cross-ice passes it’s no surprise the turnovers started cropping up again.
Alexandar Georgiev smashed his stick after the goal in overtime and he had good reason to be mad as the team fell apart on him in the extra frame including Drouin interfering with him in the crease. Just like the rest of the team he made some nice saves in the first two periods but Georgiev needed to be better along with his team on some of the shots he got a look at in the third period that went in the net,
The loss is on the team as a whole as each of the best Avalanche players all had a hand in this debacle. Nathan MacKinnon did score a goal and an assist to extend his league leading point streak to 19. The team is going to need a lot more super human performances from his to cover up the obvious flaws as this season of inconsistency moves along.
Also note Ross Colton left midway through the game after blocking a shot with his leg and did not return to the game. Predictably there was no update on him following the contest. Hopefully it was just a bruise as the thin depth will be tested even more if Colton issues any time.
One more game on the road at the St. Louis Blues at 6 p.m. MT on Friday, December 29th.