Avalanche Collapse, Blow Three Goal Lead To Vegas, Fall 4-3 In OT

Colorado Hockey Now

In the NHL, you can play two nearly perfect periods, and still come away without two points. The Colorado Avalanche learned that the hard way on Sunday afternoon.

And they’re running out of time to figure things out.

24 hours after an embarrassing showing at home, the Avalanche played fantastic for two periods, limiting Vegas’ chances and getting out to a 3-0 lead. None of that mattered, as they blew a three goal lead in the third period on their way to a 4-3 overtime loss. An ugly collapse for a team struggling to find the answers down the stretch. Alexandar Georgiev, who played well through two periods, couldn’t come up with the big save in the third period, finishing the night with just 26 saves on 30 shots.

The Avalanche still have a shot at home-ice in the first round, but just barely. A single point by Winnipeg in their final two games will guarantee the series between the two teams starts in Canada.

Cale Makar, Ross Colton, and Mikko Rantanen scored the goals for the Avalanche in the loss.

First Period

Talk about a complete 180 from what everyone saw 24 hours prior.

In the first period, Colorado wasn’t just good defensively, they were great. The Jets were able to cycle at will on the Avalanche, but Colorado didn’t allow the Golden Knights to even get that part of their game going. Colorado limited Vegas to just one high-danger scoring chance in period one, and that came when Tomas Hertl was allowed to rush one-on-one with a forward, Jonathan Drouin.

At 7:26, the return of Miles Wood helped get the Avalanche on the board. Wood, playing his first game in about a week, won a race along the boards to get the puck, chipping it to Ross Colton. Rather than carry it around the net, Colton put a wrister towards Hill from a bad angle. Shooting never hurts, I guess. That puck somehow snuck through Hill on the short side, giving Colorado the early 1-0 lead.

Three minutes later, the top line went to work, with Nathan MacKinnon quickness creating separation from Nic Roy. The Golden Knights were so focused on Jonathan Drouin in the slot that they left Cale Makar wide open. The puck hit Makar, whose wrist shot snuck past Hill on the glove side, making it 2-0.

Alexandar Georgiev didn’t have to do much in the opening period, which is probably a good thing. His biggest save came off that Hertl rush, as he snagged that shot with his glove.

Second Period

Perhaps the turning point of the game came about seven minutes into the second period. Off an offensive zone face-off win, the Golden Knights threw the puck at the net, and it deflected off Tomas Hertl past Georgiev, cutting the lead to one.

Not so fast.

Immediately, Georgiev signaled to the refs that he was interfered with, so Jared Bednar challenged, and ended up winning, as Hertl knocked Colorado’s goaltender sideways, not allowing him to play his position. With the goal disallowed, the score stayed 2-0.

At 12:50 of the period, the new-look second line came through. Casey Mittelstadt did a great job carrying the puck through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone, sending it to Valeri Nichushkin. The Russian sent it back to Josh Manson at the point, who was given plenty of time to make a play. Manson send a perfect pass down low to Mikko Rantanen, who re-directed the puck past Hill, making it 3-0. A huge goal for the Avalanche, and a very necessary one for folks that want to see Rantanen and MacKinnon continue to play apart.

Late in the period, Colorado started to crack a bit defensively, but Georgiev held strong. He made a nice glove save on Theodore, but his biggest stop came with under 10 seconds remaining, as Dorofeyev snuck behind Manson. Georgiev pushed from left to right, stopping the Golden Knights forward’s shot and keeping the score 3-0 heading into the intermission.

Third Period

Everything good that the Avalanche did through two periods was undone in just 20 minutes.

Just 2:56 in, Barbashev got the puck behind the net with the intention of wrapping the puck around. Cale Makar took the wrong route, chasing him behind the net as opposed to cutting him off in front, which gave Barbashev time to wrap the puck around on Georgiev, making it 3-1.

At 4:52, Josh Manson took an undisciplined penalty, taking down Hertl in front of the net with no one around, sending him to the box. Colorado did a nice job killing off most of the penalty, but Brandon Duhaime failed to clear the puck on his backhand, giving the Golden Knights another chance. William Karlsson, with plenty of time, beat Georgiev cleanly from he left face-off circle, and just like that, it was 3-2. On TNT, Brian Boucher, a former NHL goaltender, didn’t have very kind things to say about either goal given up by Georgiev.

Colorado really didn’t push back at all, mustering up just two shots on goal in the third. Jonathan Drouin did hit a post after it became 3-2, but that might have been the last time the Avalanche entered the offensive zone.

After giving up the second goal, Colorado stabilized a little bit, but one mistake cost them dearly. Josh Manson got caught down low, leaving Nathan MacKinnon back with Caleb Jones. A nice play by Howden sprung Karlsson, who caught MacKinnon flat-footed. Karlsson beat Georgiev on the blocker side, and it was all tied up. A total collapse from Colorado.

But they were not done.

With just 12 seconds left, Josh Manson high-sticked Jack Eichel, giving the Golden Knights a powerplay heading into overtime.


Vegas pretty much never gave up possession of the puck in OT. The only time the Avalanche got the puck was when Andrew Cogliano won a defensive zone face-off. Unfortunately, Cale Makar failed to clear it, giving it right back to Vegas.

A few seconds later, Jack Eichel’s shot was tipped home by Hertl, giving the Golden Knights the 4-3 win.

An ugly loss for Colorado, who now just have one game left to right the ship. They’ll host the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night. That game starts at 7:30 PM.

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