After an overtime loss in the Arizona desert, the Colorado Avalanche headed to Southern California for the last two games of the three-game road trip. Regarding Part 2 of the swing, the Avs headed to The OC's largest city: Anaheim. This is the second meeting of the season between the Avalanche and Ducks; the first meeting took place on November 15, an 8-2 win over the Ducks at Ball Arena. The teams will meet once more this upcoming Tuesday in Denver.
The goalie matchup was Ivan Prosvetov against John Gibson, and they were put to work very quickly. Prosvetov had to stop an early breakaway chance from the Ducks, but Gibson wan't so lucky. Bowen Byram's shot went past Gibson at only 36 seconds into the game, and not only were the Avalanche up 1-0, they would be on the power play right after. It would be killed off, but later in the period, Byram struck again, with the assists coming from Frederik Olofsson and Josh Manson. So it's 2-0 Avs already. Have I already thanked the Ottawa Senators for allowing the Avs to draft Byram yet? Anyway, Avs ended up shorthanded, and after that, Adam Henrique who put the Ducks on the board. I sensed one of two things happening before intermission: either the Ducks would tie it, or the score would stay the same. Neither happened. Devon Toews scored in the final minute to make it 3-1 and that's how the first period ended.
The 2nd period was hot for the Ducks; Leo Carlsson made it a one goal game, with the assist coming from Alex Killorn. We would see quite a crazy moment in the middle frame; an obvious trip on Josh Manson, but it was not called. Wow. More from the refs later. The ol' cosmetic call came a bit later in the frame, resulting in another PP for the Ducks, and it's successful. The aforementioned Killorn tied it up, and it was 3-3 after two periods. Third period was back and forth, and saw so many close calls from the Avalanche, the big one being Ross Colton, who did everything right, but was stopped by Gibson's right pad. I seriously thought someone would score in the final minutes of the period, but no go. We have overtime.
Amazing. The Avs only went past regulation once in the team's first 21 games, yet this is the team's second straight overtime game. Combined, Colorado is 1-1 past regulation, and the Avs controlled the puck for the most part. We saw Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon nearly win it, then the Ducks hit the crossbar in their attempt. I mentioned the refs earlier. A shot from the Avs was glove-saved by Gibson, who passed the puck with his glove, yet the whistle was blown right after. That should not have happened. It ended up in Colorado's favor, as the faceoff was in the Ducks zone, but the Ducks would get control. Following a save, Prosvetov plays the puck, and I know what he was doing. That was a clear tease right there. Anyway, no goals in OT, so the shootout occurs, and the only goal is scored by Carlsson, resulting in a 4-3 win, via shootout, for the Ducks.
This was a strange game--though, games between the Avs and Ducks, especially in the last five years, have been strange. I know this much. We have a bit of a knack for giving up comebacks against Anaheim, though at least this resulted in a point in the standings. It was great to see Bowem Byram explode in this game with a pair of goals; again, thank you, Ottawa Senators. If they hadn't made that trade, and if they hadn't completely sucked a season later, we would not have Bowen Byram. So it's a second straight post-regulation loss for the Avs, resulting in a 7-1-2 record in our last 10 games. Only the New York Rangers have a better 10 game stretch. Also, the point keeps Colorado all alone atop the Central Division.
The Avalanche's three game road trip concludes on Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings, the first meeting since the opening game of both teams' seasons on October 11--a 5-2 win for the Avalanche.
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