Avalanche shut down in 3-2 loss to Washington as nine-game winning streak ends

Apr 18, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram (4) bats a puck out of the air ahead of goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) in the second period against the Washington Capitals at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It was very much a frustrating night for the Avalanche in more ways than one.

They turned the puck over at inopportune times, struggled to get pucks to the net and felt the officiating was inconsistent.

“It was a weird game officiating-wise. I think we can all agree on that,” defenseman Bowen Byram said.

Colorado was held to 26 shots and had 23 other attempts blocked by the Washington Capitals on Monday resulting in a 3-2 loss and its nine-game winning streak ending unceremoniously at Ball Arena.

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Two of the Caps’ goals were directly off turnovers and the third was a lost puck battle on the penalty kill.

Furthermore, Washington held the Avs to just 15 shots through two periods and a single shot in the final three minutes when Colorado attempted to make its final push.

“I didn’t like our execution,” Bednar said following just the fifth regulation loss at Ball Arena in 39 games. “We gotta give them some credit. They put some pressure on us and they were above outlets and whatnot.”

The Avalanche drew even on two occasions — one of which was midway through the final period — but failed to take a lead against the only team in the playoff picture that they’ve yet to defeat this season.

“We had a turnover on goal one, we had a turnover going backward on goal three and it took away a little bit of our offensive output tonight,” Bednar said.

The second Washington goal, Alex Ovechkin’s 48th of the season, was scored on the power play after Nico Sturm was called for tripping to the Avalanche’s dismay. Colorado felt both of the calls against them were questionable in some way.

“There’s a couple of plays that are judgment calls. I don’t have to agree with their calls,” Bednar said. “Especially, I didn’t like the one on Sturm. He kind of gets out of the way and Ovechkin tries to spin out of it and clips his feet. I don’t know what else he’s supposed to do”

Colorado’s only goals came from Valeri Nichushkin and Artturi Lehkonen.

Nichushkin’s tally extended his point streak to five games and was his 22nd of the season. In the previous two seasons with the Avalanche, Nichushkin had just 23 goals in 120 regular-season games.

Lehkonen’s goal was his second in four games and fifth point in the same stretch. Since getting acquired at the deadline, Lehkonen has three goals and six points in 10 games.

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Aarif Deen is our Colorado Avalanche beat reporter. He covers Avs games live from Ball Arena and attends practices, media availabilities and other events pertaining to the Avs on the daily beat. He is also a co-host of Hockey Mountain High: Your go-to Avalanche Podcast. Deen joined Mile High Sports upon completion of his bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Before Mile High Sports, Deen worked for the Michigan Wolverines Athletics Department as the assistant sports information director.

Follow him on Twitter @runwriteAarif

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