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Avalanche Fall To The Kings, Go Winless On Road Trip




If you looked at the schedule a week ago, you probably would have considered Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings a “scheduled loss” for the Colorado Avalanche, considering they were on the second half of a back-to-back against a very good team.

Well, they did lose, but it looks quite a bit worse after blowing a two-goal lead last night to a struggling Ducks team.

A tired Avalanche squad held on for 40 minutes, but in the third period, their legs gave out, and the Kings dominated the final 20, walking away with a 4-1 victory. Alexandar Georgiev held the Avalanche in it as long as he could in the third period, but the road team barely pushed back, generating just five shots on goal, most of which came after the game was already out of reach.

Georgiev made 34 saves in the loss, and Josh Manson was the lone goal scorer for Colorado.

First Period

Without Cale Makar in the lineup, the Avalanche were going to have dumb it down against the Kings, for lack of a better term. In the first period, that’s exactly what they did.

There weren’t a ton of scoring chances for either side, and a lot of times, the Avalanche dumped it in when they got to the red line. That’s not standard for them when they’re both healthy and not exhausted.

The best chance of the period for the Kings came relatively early, as Kevin Fiala broke free in the high slot and let a quick wrist shot go. It beat Georgiev on the glove side, but hit the corner of the cross/bar post, and then bounced off the other post and out. On TV, it looked like a goal, but the puck never crossed the goal line.

Colorado’s only powerplay of the period fizzled out, but soon after, the top line put together a pretty passing play to get the Avalanche on the board. Nathan MacKinnon did a nice job of gaining the offensive blueline, and hit Mikko Rantanen on the left side of the ice. Rantanen sent a one-touch pass to a pinching Josh Manson, who sent a wrist shot through Cam Talbot’s legs, giving Colorado the early lead.

There wasn’t much that happened after that. Colorado kind of sat back, but they didn’t give up anything terribly dangerous the other way. The shots after one period were just 6-6.

Second Period

The second period was a bit more of the same, although I’d say it was pretty even overall. Both teams had some chances, but things were generally kept to the outside.

Colorado’s third line probably generated their two best opportunities of the period. Ross Colton had a nice look after Talbot turned the puck over trying to play it, but he shot it right into Talbot’s chest. Logan O’Connor had the other good chance, as he tried to backhand a rebound off the end boards into the net, but Talbot stretched out his leg and made the save.

Los Angeles tied the game up halfway through the period. They executed an odd-man rush nicely after MacKinnon lost the puck in the offensive zone, and Mikey Anderson’s shot was deflected into the net by Quinton Byfield.

Through two periods, the Avalanche had played smart hockey with tired legs on the road. Could they keep it up for one more period?

Third Period

The answer? A hard no.

The effort and smart play from the first two periods completely disappeared, and the impact of having played the night before became very evident. Los Angeles dominated the third period in a way that no team has dominated the Avalanche in a long time. The shot attempts at even strength were a whopping 37-8 in favor of the Kings, and it looked every bit as bad as the numbers indicated.

The only reason the game didn’t get blown open earlier in the third was because of Alexandar Georgiev. During the first two periods, he faced just 15 shots. In the third period alone, he faced an onslaught of 22 shots.

Even with this domination, the Avalanche were able to hold on and keep the game tied for the majority of the period. At 13:26 of the third, the dam finally broke.

A beautiful passing play by the Kings was finished off by Byfield, who was left all alone in front for his second of the night. 56 seconds later, Trevor Moore took advantage of a Jack Johnson turnover, spun away from Caleb Jones, and beat Georgiev up high, making it 3-1.

Colorado really didn’t have the legs to push back. With the net empty, they didn’t put up much of a fight, and Drew Doughty buried an empty netter, giving the Kings the 4-1 victory. Colorado heads home with a disappointing 0-1-2 record on their three game road trip.

The Avalanche will be off on Monday, and will spend the majority of December at home. They start a five game homestand on Tuesday night when they get a rematch with the Ducks. That game starts at 7 PM MST.

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

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