The Colorado Avalanche returned home on the second night of back-to-back contests to face the Calgary Flames at Pepsi Center and were defeated by the final score of 3-2. The Flames were also battling against a difficult schedule as of late, playing their final game of a six-game road trip Saturday night. The loss was only Colorado’s second loss at Pepsi Center this season and first since the October 19th meeting with the St. Louis Blues.

Coming into the game, the goaltenders were the story to keep an eye on. Avalanche backup Jonathan Bernier was in net for his fourth consecutive start for Colorado and second start in as many nights. The Flames starting goalie for the evening was David Rittich making his NHL debut at the age of 25 and earning his first career victory stopping 24 of Colorado’s 26 attempts.

The first period was mostly uneventful as neither team was really able to generate much of an offensive threat to start the game. The Flames were able to capitalize late in the first, however, scoring on Colorado’s second penalty of the evening. Avs defenseman Mark Barberio failed to clear the puck out of the corner and turned it over to Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk who quickly tapped it to Johnny Gaudreau who then found Dougie Hamilton all alone on the far end. Hamilton released a one-timer off of the cross-ice feed that beat Johnathan Bernier over his blocker. The period would end with Hamilton’s goal being the only scoring play up to that point and the first-period shot count was at an 8-7 Calgary advantage.

At 14:32 into the second period, the Colorado power play scored at home for the eleventh time this year. The goal was scored by Mikko Rantanen from the far circle off of a Nathan MacKinnon pass from the slot. Rantanen’s goal would count for his seventh of the season and Colorado’s first of the night as the score sat at an even 1-1 tally.

Momentum had certainly shifted in the Avalanche’s favor during the second period, however, Calgary was able to head to the dressing room with a 3-1 lead after scoring two goals in the final minute of the period. One from Micheal Ferland after a botched defensive-zone exit from Colorado with 50.2 remaining and, the other, a rebound goal from Mikael Backlund with 29 seconds left.

The Avalanche did manage a late push in the third period when Nikita Zadorov fired a shot from the point with 2:54 to go in the game. The shot went past a Sven Andrighetto screen and beat Rittich blocker side for Zadorov’s second goal of the season. Calgary’s momentum from the late second-period goals was, ultimately, too much for Colorado to overcome as they were outshot in the third period 14-7 and the Avalanche’s empty-net push proved to be futile.

Saturday’s loss to the Flames was the first game of a five-game homestand for the Avalanche who will have three days off before hosting the Winnipeg Jets Wednesday night — the first of four meeting between the two teams.