Avalanche third-period struggles continue in 7-6 overtime loss to Vancouver

Nov 2, 2018; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog (92) shoots against Vancouver Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson (44) and goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) during the third period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday night, the Avalanche were in a new city with a fresh start and a fresh goaltender, looking for a bounce-back game after giving up six goals the night before in Calgary. The Avalanche were 35.9 seconds away from achieving that against the Vancouver Canucks, but gave up a late third-period goal and eventually lost the game in overtime 7-6, allowing a total of 13 goals against in their latest two-game set in Canada.

Much like the night before against the Flames, the matchup in Vancouver began without much scoring or even many scoring chances from either team, aside from the two breakaway opportunities that opened up the game. Nathan MacKinnon’s was first when he walked in all alone on Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom and sent a shot over the crossbar with 34 seconds into the game.

Just 24 seconds later, Brock Boeser had a breakaway chance of his own and capitalized, putting the Canucks up 1-0 and giving Philip Grubauer another rough start in net. The game would be Grubauer’s fifth in net this season and the fourth time he has given up the first goal of the game. His .811 save percentage Friday night still leaves Avs fans waiting for their newest goaltender to have his breakout game in an Avalanche sweater.

The second period began 1-0 in Vancouver’s favor, then for the second night in a row, the Avalanche had a four-goal second period with goals from Sheldon Dries, Ian Cole, Nathan MacKinnon, and Alex Kerfoot. Unfortunately for the Avs, the Canucks were also in a scoring groove, notching three of their own, including Boeser’s second of the night.

With a 4-4 tie heading into the third, the Avalanche were once again in a position to win the game in the final period — they have either had the lead or the game tied heading into the final frame in all seven losses so far this season.

Nikita Zadorov scored his first goal of the year 1:30 into the period, putting the Avalanche up 5-4. From that point on, Vancouver seemed to have flipped a switch and controlled much of the possession. The game was tied up at 5-5 on a power-play goal by Marcus Granlund and both teams fought down to the wire, setting up for an entertaining end to the game.

Nathan MacKinnon scored a power-play goal of his own — his second of the night and eleventh of the year — on a one-timer from the circle from a Gabe Landeskog pass. Mikko Rantanen, of course, had the second assist and the Avalanche had the 6-5 lead with only 1:37 left on the clock.

Vancouver has a phenom of their own, this season’s first-year standout and October’s rookie of the month Elias Petterson, who ended with two goals and three assists, including the game-tying goal with 36 seconds to go.

The Canucks controlled the overtime period with seven shots on goal to Colorado’s zero. Alex Kerfoot was given a slashing penalty 3:36 in and just over a minute later, the Canucks scored the game-winner on a Derek Pouliot goal that bounced around the crease before finally getting directed into the net.

It was a tough two-game trip to Canada and the Avalanche have now lost four of their last five games. They now face another short break, as they won’t hit the ice again until Wednesday when they face the surging Nashville Predators. The game will be the only one at home before they head out on another two-game trip to Canada, this time facing the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets.

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