November 25, 2015 Game 22r
Pepsi Center Denver, CO
The Colorado Avalanche rolled back into Denver after an exhausting seven-game, 15-day road trip that saw them pick up a little momentum on the season and maybe get things rolling in the right direction. Coming out with a little jump early wasn't enough, however, to stop the visiting Ottawa Senators from getting on the board first as Avs goaltender Semyon Varlamov gave up an extremely soft goal to Shane Prince at the 5:54 mark of the first period for the 1-0 lead.
Prince would make it 2-0 at the 9:01 mark as he potted a goal behind Varlamov of a pass from Zack Smith as Brandon Gormley and Zach Redmond failed to play any meaningful defense on the Sens forwards.
The Avalanche would make it a 2-1 game when Chris Wagner battled hard in front of the Ottawa net and would put in a rebound off his own shot to beat former-Av Craig Anderson.
Just 1:48 into the second period, Kyle Turris would score another goal that Varlamov would probably like back to give Ottawa a 3-1 lead and resulted in Reto Berra replacing Varlamov, a surprisingly quick hook given Roy's hesitance to pull Berra last week in multiple contests in which he gave up a handful of goals.
The Avs continued a listless effort and the Ottawa fourth line took advantage for yet another soft goal as Smith scored the goal this time to give the Sens a 4-1 lead they would take into the third period.
Head Coach Patrick Roy would roll the dice and pull the goaltender on an Avs power play with under ten minutes remaining in the game and the gamble paid off as Gabriel Landeskog deflected a Nathan MacKinnon shot past Anderson to push the score to 4-2.
The Avalanche weren't quite dead in the water yet as the top line's next shift would see Landeskog force a turnover behind the Ottawa net on the forecheck and make a great pass to a streaking MacKinnon, who easily beat Anderson to bring it to 4-3.
Despite outshooting the Senators 22-4 in the third period, the Avalanche would ultimately fall to Ottawa 5-3 after an empty-net goal from Mika Zibanejad with seven seconds remaining.
1. Shane Prince - 2 goals, 1 assist
2. Gabriel Landeskog - 1 goal, 1 assist
3. Craig Anderson - 40 saves, 20 in third period alone
PLAY OF THE GAME
While ultimately it wasn't enough, this is just a great hockey play by two of Colorado's best players and Landeskog's forecheck pressure and steal of the puck from Ottawa's Erik Karlsson is a highlight we'll be looking at all season.
Maybe not so much a turning point tonight, but it could be one for the Avalanche franchise as this was the goal that caused Roy to pull Varlamov. Combined with his postgame comments about Varlamov's play, this could be the beginning of the end for Varlamov in Colorado.
BY THE NUMBERS
QUOTE OF THE GAME
"When I saw the first one go in, I said 'Come on, Varly.' That can't happen. That was not a dangerous shot at all, coming from the board. It really hurt us a lot and I think took some momentum off of our game. He needs to be better. Period." -Patrick Roy on Semyon Varlamov's performance
Colorado's loss drops them to 2-6-1 at home and the Avalanche maintain their last place position in the Central Division, five points behind 6th place Winnipeg.
The Avalanche have the next two days off for the American Thanksgiving holiday and return to action on Saturday, November 28 as they host the Winnipeg Jets in their second meeting this week.