The third period for the Colorado Avalanche continues to cause issues.
While it leads to stress, and anxiety, ultimately in this instance Colorado was on the wrong end of the result of their own third-period issues once again in their 2-1 loss Tuesday night to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
While the Avs dominated the first 45 minutes or so, the final 15 minutes is where the Avs lost once again as they have this season. They continue to remain unable to put together a full 60 minutes to close out games.
While Colorado dominated the shot count and got the majority of chances throughout the game, they did not put more than one in the net all night. They have Casey DeSmith to thank as they did somewhat get goal-ied by him, but then again only one goal on 42 shots is not great.
Meanwhile, the Avs team as a whole was fine except for the third period. Particularly, Pavel Francouz and his decisions specifically on Pittsburgh’s late tying goal were questionable and only hurt the Avalanche.
Dating back to before the NHL All-Star Break, this is now the fourth straight game where the Avs played a subpar third period. They’re 2-1-1 in this stretch, and of course, the point they got in Tuesday night’s affair is huge, but the extra point they missed out on could be catastrophic should things not turn out the way they want them to be at season’s end.
Surprisingly, head coach Jared Bednar did not seem too upset about the loss as the team had played well all night long. He’s discussed on multiple occasions finishing out games and putting teams to bed when they can, but they did not do so against the Pens.
Moving forward in an already wacky February schedule with a bunch of back-to-backs upcoming, closing out games early and often will allow them to roll all four lines and rest up players when they have to play again in 24 hours' time. It is necessary not only for the health of the Avs who had their scares Tuesday night but for their status in the standings heading into the final stretch.
More than ever, the Avalanche needs to sort out the third period. Close-out games. Play a full 60 minutes. Work together to put the puck in the net at will. Doing all of the above will lead to similar success we saw last season for this Avs squad.