In the Turning Point, we’ll take a look at one moment in the previous Colorado Avalanche game that changed the momentum in the game, whether in a good way or bad way.
(Normally, this article will be for subscribers only. As this is the first installment, we’ll be making it free to everyone)
The Avalanche were sitting pretty heading into the third period of their game against the Los Angeles Kings. An early powerplay goal in the third period by the Kings got them back into the game, but the Avalanche weren’t giving up great chances as the third period went on.
On the game tying goal by Sean Walker, the Avalanche made a few quick mistakes leading up to the tying goal. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.
Everything is Fine
When the Los Angeles Kings go to break out the puck, the Avalanche have numbers back. Ben Meyers was the third man high and already had prepared for a breakout, which you would expect when you’re playing with a lead. Andrew Cogliano is also back, as he avoided chasing to the boards and instead backed off.
The Avalanche were in no real danger at this point. Things quickly changed.
This is not a mistake you would expect from a veteran like Cogliano. It wouldn’t surprise me if we didn’t see a mistake like this from him again.
He’s in a good position, but decides to hit the brakes and take a swipe at potentially knocking the puck away from Blake Lizotte. When he stops in the neutral zone, he’s immediately at a disadvantage. The easiest defender to get around is the one that isn’t moving. Ideally, you want to stay in front of the puck carrier and angle them away from the middle of the ice. Instead, Lizotte now has an easy entry through the middle.
Cogliano takes a swipe at the puck. Lizotte avoids him with ease. Suddenly, the four on four that was developing has turned into a four on three for the Kings.
Even though the rush has quickly turned into a disadvantage for the Avalanche, there’s still a chance to recover. As soon as the puck gets to Walker, Girard recognizes that’s his guy and steps up. Unfortunately, the way he steps up is a little…awkward.
His body is turned a little bit, and instead of getting in Walker’s lane, he swipes at the puck. Walker does make a great play, recognizing that the poke check is coming, and toe drags around Girard. The result is a wide open look and a great shot that beats Georgiev up high.
A veteran like Cogliano knew as soon as the puck went in the mistake he had made. Hockey is a fast sport, and mistakes are bound to happen. Unfortunately, the stick did not survive the impact.
The entire game turned around in the course of a 10 second span. This play was the turning point in the game.
The Colorado Avalanche would go on to lose the game 5-4 in a shootout.