DENVER, CO – Momentum does not carry over from game to game, or even period to period. The Colorado Avalanche found that out on Tuesday.
Despite a furious comeback attempt in the third period, the Avalanche dropped their sixth of seven games, falling to the Florida Panthers 5-4.
Andrew Cogliano, Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon, and J.T. Compher scored goals for the Avalanche. Kurtis MacDermid added two assists.
Matthew Tkachuk led the way for the Panthers, scoring two goals. Also adding goals were Alex Barkov, Sam Bennett and Brandon Montour.
The first period could not have gone worse for the Avalanche.
After a decent start to the period, things fell apart quickly.
An errant Evan Rodrigues pass in the offensive zone ended up on Anton Lundell’s stick for an easy breakout. Lundell would dump the puck in and outwork Devon Toews to gather the puck. The young forward fed Alex Barkov in the slot, who outmuscled Cale Makar and Darren Helm in front and beat Alexandar Georgiev with a backhand shot.
The hits kept coming.
Less than three minutes later, Erik Johnson would turn the puck over on an offensive rush. After a risky pinch by the covering forward Compher, the Panthers rushed up the ice. Carter Verhaeghe found Brandon Montour pinching in late, and the defenseman ripped a shot over Georgiev’s glove hand to make it a two goal lead.
The meltdown continued.
A questionable call on Artturi Lehkonen gave the Panthers their first powerplay, and it wouldn’t take long for them to capitalize.
A hard dump in bounced off Andrew Cogliano’s stick right to Sam Girard, who couldn’t corral the puck. Sam Reinhart recovered the puck and fed a wide open Sam Bennett in front for an early 3-0 lead.
The Avalanche did find the scoreboard late in the period, when Makar passed up a shot in the slot to feed Kurtis MacDermid in the right circle. MacDermid’s shot was deflected by Cogliano in front of the net to cut the lead to 3-1 before the end of the period.
The late goal provided no momentum boost. The Panthers dominated the second, spending most of the period in the Avalanche end.
With less than a minute left in the second, Matthew Tkachuk gave the Panthers back their three goal lead. The power forward was left all alone at the top of the crease for an easy tap in goal. An ugly period made significantly uglier for the Avalanche.
Overall, the Panthers owned 80% of the shot attempts in the middle period.
Some things must have been said between periods, because the Avalanche came out flying in the third.
Rantanen got the comeback started, turning his wrists as fast as humanly possible and scoring on a wrap around, cutting the lead to two.
Twenty seconds later, MacKinnon would burst into the zone and beat Bobrovsky through his legs.
Suddenly, it was a one game game.
An Artturi Lehkonen goal would get called back after review, as Toews was pretty clearly offsides, but that didn’t stop the Avalanche. With 12:07 left, Compher would fire a turn around wrist shot over Bobrovsky’s glove.
Despite struggling for 40 minutes, the Avalanche had found a way to tie it up.
That’s where the comeback attempt would end.
After a missed high sticking call in the neutral zone on the Panthers, Rantanen would get called for interference. With only 10 seconds left on the powerplay, Tkachuk would bang home his second of the game to give the Panthers the lead.
That’s where the goal scoring would stop.
After another regulation loss, the Avalanche still sit only two points out of the final wild card spot. They now head to Chicago to take on the lowly Blackhawks on Thursday night. The game starts at 6:30 PM MST.