In the previous game, the Colorado Avalanche were surprisingly able to defeat the Stanley Cup contending Toronto Maple Leafs by a decisive score of 6-3 on Monday night. For the first time in a while, the team saw solid production from their secondary scorers which included a hat trick by forward Carl Soderberg. After the impressive road victory, it was finally starting to feel like the Avalanche were going to get out of their slump.
However, the disappointing 5-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday evening proves that the team is still not done struggling. Before the contest began, the Senators sat at dead last in the entire NHL with only 39 points and a 17-24-5 record. It appeared that this game would be a slam dunk win for the Avalanche, but the exact opposite ensued.
The Avalanche quickly fell behind in the shots department as the Senators put 13 pucks on net while the Avalanche registered merely eight. Solid goaltending by Semyon Varlamov was the only reason why the game remained scoreless after the first period.
The second frame was a different story as the Senators struck swiftly and often. Senators rookie Brady Tkachuk found the back of the net just a little over two minutes into the period.
A minute and seven seconds later, Senators scoring leader Mark Stone tipped in a shot from the point by defenseman Cody Ceci. All of a sudden, the Avalanche were in a 2-0 hole.
The game went from bad to worse for the Avalanche as left-winger Ryan Dzingel added on to the Senators lead a little over nine minutes into the period.
The only highlight from the Avalanche during the second frame was courtesy of defenseman Nikita Zadorov who unloaded an absolute cannon from the blue line to get his team on the scoreboard. Zadorov’s goal gave the Avalanche a shed of hope since they have mounted third period comebacks before this season.
However, that hope was diminished almost eight minutes into the period as former Avalanche forward Matt Duchene made the score 4-1. Frustration ensued mere minutes later after a goal by Avalanche left-winger Matt Calvert was disallowed due to one side of the net being dislodged before the puck crossed the line.
A power play tally by forward Nathan MacKinnon would put the score at 4-2 with a little under four minutes left in the contest. Despite the Avalanche’s late game efforts, Duchene would score his second of the night on an empty netter mere seconds before the final minute of the game to seal the deal.
The 5-2 defeat to a bottom feeder team such as the Senators certainly left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Avalanche. It was not how any of them expected their five-game road trip to end.
To add insult to injury, since the Avalanche own the Senator’s first-round pick in this year’s draft. Allowing the Senators to gain two points in the standings only reduces the Avalanche’s chances of receiving a top five pick at the end of the season.
After two days of rest, the Avalanche will face the Los Angeles Kings in Denver on Saturday afternoon. The Kings are currently the second worst team in the Western Conference with a 19-25-4 record and only 42 points.
Although the Avalanche blew out the Kings earlier in the year by a score of 7-3. Their most recent meeting resulted in a 3-2 overtime loss on New Year’s Eve. If there’s anything to learn from this now month-long slump. It’s that there are no “slam dunks” for this Avalanche team.