The Colorado Avalanche's visit to Anaheim didn't go as planned; what started out as a 3-1 lead turned into a shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks. So far, the three game swing saw back-to-back post-regulation losses, and it has now reached a conclusion, as the Avs headed to the City of Angels to face off against the Los Angeles Kings. Los Angeles is where the Avs' 2023-24 season began, and Game #1 ended with the Avalanche winning 5-2, capped off by Mikko Rantanen's four point performance.
Unfortunately, the Avs would be one main man down for the trip to Los Angeles. Cale Makar was out for this game, and during the overtime in Anaheim, many Avs fans were quick to wonder where our great defenseman was. The injury news was confirmed after the loss, so the Avs would be down a very important player for this big meeting against a high powered team. The goaltender matchup was Alexander Georgiev against Cam Talbot, and it was a good start for the Avs. Kings were held at bay in the opening frame, and the Avs struck first: Josh Manson's first goal of the season made it 1-0, and for the Avs, that's four straight goals scored by blueliners.
It was 1-0 after 20 minutes, and it looked like the Avs would add a second, but Talbot remained strong in net. The Kings would strike in the second, and it was Quinton Byfield who tied it up, his fifth of the season and his second this season against Colorado. It remained 1-1 after 40 minutes, but the third period would see the Kings totally explode. Byfield struck again at 13;36, with the assists coming from Adrian Kempe and, more notably, Anze Kopitar. Why "more notably"? Because that assist moved Kopitar into sole possession of the Kings' franchise leader in assists. An amazing accomplishment from a Kings stalwart who was part of two Stanley Cup runs. The Kings decided to celebrate their captain's milestone by adding another goal 56 seconds later. Trevor Moore made it 3-1, and after the Avs pulled Georgiev for the extra attacker, Drew Doughty, the only other player left from those Cup runs, iced it with an empty netter.
I want to talk a bit about Josh Manson. I have really enjoyed Manson ever since we acquired him in a trade with the Ducks in March of 2022. He's been quite good for us so far, and it includes our Stanley Cup run, which saw Manson score one of the Avs' five OT goals during the run, and even score a goal during the Cup Final (Game 2). Now, every team has that one player who always commits penalties. I'm not talking about the borderline goons, they usually fight and send messages. I mean the small infractions; holding, hooking, interference, you name it. For the Avs, that's Manson, though this year, it's also Byram. Manson has 32 PIM (Penalty Minutes) so far this season, but he does make up for it when possible. He only has three points at this point, but he did score our only goal of the game. I sense a bit of a hot streak for Manson.
As for the Avs, the three game road swing wasn't a fruitful one. Though we lost all three games, only this one was in regulation. As a result, it's a 7-2-2 stretch in our last 11 games, and none of the losses were at home. Speaking of home, that's where the Avs will be for the next five games! The homestand begins on Tuesday with our last meeting of the season against the Anaheim Ducks.
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