With two consecutive wins in their back pocket, the Colorado Avalanche came into tonight's early evening contest against the Ottawa Senators feeling pretty good about themselves. Those good feelings didn't last long as the Sens came out firing early and often, building an impressive 7-1 shot advantage through the first half of the period.
Sports can be cruel, however, and on one of Colorado's first shifts with sustained offensive pressure, they cashed in. Blake Comeau made a sneaky good play to move the puck from the half-wall up the boards to defenseman Cody Goloubef, who walked into the middle of the ice and made a nice shot-pass to Matt Nieto, who perfectly re-directed the puck past former Av goaltender Craig Anderson for the 1-0 lead.
The Avalanche would enjoy their lead through the end of the first period, putting pressure on the Senators to repeat their early dominance in the game's second frame. They did just that with a 13-4 shot barrage that had the Senators not only tying the game but taking the lead and adding to it in the second half of the second period.
Fredrik Claesson got the scoring started when the Avalanche forwards got caught way too deep in the defensive zone and Claesson had an excessive amount of time to walk in from the blue line and beat Calvin Pickard to tie the game. It was just the beginning for Ottawa.
Not even five more minutes passed when Rene Bourque turned the puck over twice in his own zone, then took an extremely lazy Tripping penalty for good measure. The Senators took advantage immediately when Mike Hoffman found Alexandre Burrows alone in front of Pickard as Fedor Tyutin couldn't be bothered to mark the only man he was tasked with covering and Burrows used the space to bang home his third goal against the Avalanche in the last two weeks to put Ottawa ahead, 2-1.
Hoffman would strike again, this time as the goal scorer and not the apple-maker when he took a weak shot from the half-wall that somehow beat Pickard, easily the softest goal against up to that point and erasing all of the good feelings Pickard had built up with a very strong performance until that moment. The 3-1 lead Ottawa suddenly found themselves with carried into the third period.
The third period was a whole lot of low-event hockey until the Senators took some good fortune and turned into their fourth goal when a shot from the point was tipped by two different Senators, the last being Ryan Dzingel, and the Avs were in a three-goal hole.
A late penalty on Dion Phaneuf, who was physical throughout the evening, gave Colorado one last chance to feel less bad about themselves and Carl Soderberg and Joe Colborne combined for a nice passing play to Sven Andrighetto, who scored his first goal as an Av and his third point in three games. The goal came with 12 seconds remaining and brought the game to its final score, 4-2.
1. Alexandre Burrows
2. Mike Hoffman
3. Erik Karlsson
PLAY OF THE GAME
Nieto's goal was the kind of play the Avalanche so frequently strive for as the offense was sparked by a good play to move the puck to the blue line, and then a defenseman, in this case, Goloubef, made something happen that led to a goal.
The shift where Rene Bourque turned the puck over twice, then finished off his shift by failing to clear the zone when he had the puck and tripped the player who beat him along the boards. That penalty immediately turned into an Ottawa goal and gave them a lead they would not relinquish.
BY THE NUMBERS
Colorado takes to the road for their next game as they head to Phoenix to take on the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night.