A hot start from the Avalanche wasn’t enough to keep the Flames down as Calgary fought their way back into the game, ultimately stealing the win in overtime. The road team won on a Johnny Gaudreau breakaway, burying the Avs 3-2 for the first Colorado home loss of the year.
“Our first period and our goaltender got us a point,” coach Jared Bednar said following the loss. “We should be happy as can be getting a point out of that.”
Eleven seconds was all it took for Nathan MacKinnon to keep his scoring streak alive, scoring in each of the five games the Avalanche have played this season.
A second early dagger helped suck some life out of the Flames when J.T. Compher capitalized on one of the Flames defensemen’s turnover at 2:40 into the game. After creating some havoc on the forecheck, Compher walked in all alone and scored his third goal of the season, putting the Avalanche up 2-0.
“We had a great start to the game where we come out with a purpose,” Bednar assessed. “And then it looked to me like we thought it was going to be easy; get away from our game, standing around, every play has to be a fancy play, every play has to be through somebody on the other team, we won’t skate, no intent to get any pucks to the net.”
The game seemed to be out of Calgary’s reach at that point. Not only was the score 2-0, but the shot count favored the Avalanche pretty heavily. However, the Flames noticeably shifted momentum and were able to get their first goal just over halfway into the second period. Sam Bennett put home a juicy rebound off of the rush and Calgary was finally able to get on the scoreboard.
“I guess we were surprised, we should have expected more of a response,” Nathan MacKinnon commented on the Flames pushback. “It’s pretty rare teams call timeout quick. Obviously, they weren’t happy. I’m sure Bill Peters wasn’t happy and it got them fired up for the rest of the game.”
The 2-1 lead heading into the third period presented some adversity for Colorado, and there was a palpable tension inside Pepsi Center as the entire building felt the momentum shift that had taken place.
The Flames refused to lay down and threw everything they could at the Avalanche in the third period, and the Avs stayed resilient during the onslaught of Calgary shots. That is until the Flames added the extra attacker and with 1:54 left in the third period, Elias Lindholm finally tied the game for Calgary.
It was a deflating goal for the home team, and despite the team’s usual success in 3-on-3 overtime, the Avalanche were on their heels and it showed in the 46 seconds of overtime that occurred.
As Bednar alluded to, Avs goaltender Semyon Varlamov was Colorado’s biggest asset once again, particularly while the Avs were on the penalty kill. Varlamov stopped 38 shots Saturday night, 12 of which while Calgary had the man advantage. The Avalanche penalty kill was 4-for-4 on the night, moving to 22-for-23 on the season.
“He’s great, we need to help him for sure,” MacKinnon said on his goaltender’s play. “Tonight he faced 42 shots or something. You know, that’s very preventable. They played well but we kind of gave it to them as well.”
Johnny Gaudreau’s overtime winner resulted in an loss that was tough for the Avalanche to swallow. But, Colorado are still off to a strong start as they head out on a four-game east coast swing playing the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers respectively.
A quick practice on Sunday is all they will have to readjust before they take their flight out east on Monday.