Avs ring in new year with 3-2 loss to Kings in overtime

Feb 28, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) celebrates with center Tyson Jost (17) and right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) after his goal in the second period against the Calgary Flames at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

After overcoming a 2-0 deficit and forcing the game into overtime, things did not go quite as planned for the Colorado Avalanche, who closed out 2018 with a 3-2 loss in overtime to the Los Angeles Kings. The loss is Colorado’s fifth in a row and gives the Avs a record of 1-8 in overtime.

Coming into the game Monday night, the two big storylines were the call-up of former Pioneer Logan O’Connor, and forward Tyson Jost getting his chance on the top line next to Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen.

“My family, who has supported me my whole life, and a bunch of DU teammates are in the stands so it’s pretty special,” O’Connor said.

Following a scoreless first period, the Kings took full advantage of a last-minute first period tripping penalty on Tyson Barrie when Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty fired a shot from the point and snuck it past Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov.

With time winding down in the middle frame, Kings rookie defenseman Sean Walker found the back of the net to give the Kings the 2-0 lead to close out the period.

Scoring issues continued to be a struggle for Avalanche, as the Avs ended up going 0/4 on the power play through the first two periods of play, including a double minor power play in the first period.

“You have these up and downs, and you try to remain even keel, and there comes a point where there is a breaking point,” Avs defenseman Erik Johnson said, “I think for us, it is time to wake up.”

With the Avs top line being reassembled in the second period, the Avs found a way to cut into the Kings lead as MacKinnon capitalized on a highlight-reel pass from Rantanen to get the Avalanche on the scoreboard and gain some much need momentum.

Desperate to come up with the equalizing goal with time winding down in the third period, Avs veteran Carl Soderberg came up big by coming up with the tying goal to force overtime.

However, despite the effort to come up with the tying goal to force overtime and come away with a point, the Avalanche were unable to nab the second period as Kings captain Dustin Brown capped off the game-winning goal for the Kings.

“You can’t let guys get in behind you in overtime, you just can’t,” Jared Bednar said, “and to me those are not structural mistakes, those are mental mistakes. To be honest with you, most of our overtime losses have happened the exact same way.”

The Avalanche will look to snap the losing streak as they host the San Jose Sharks at the Pepsi Center on January 2 with faceoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.