Capitals Capsize Avs Winning Streak With 3-2 Victory


The Colorado Avalanche entered tonight’s game with the Washington Capitals looking primed to really get some positive momentum going this season. They had their first winning streak of the season on the line. They were coming off four days between games, giving the players some time away from hockey, and also a couple of good practices. I really had a good feeling, that they would come out, and make a statement against a middle of the pack Eastern Conference team.

Instead, a similar storyline emerged, with the Avalanche unable to find the pixie dust from last year’s fairy tale regular season. The Avalanche fell 3-2, with a late third-period goal by superstar Alex Ovechkin proving to be the difference.

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The loss deposits the Avalanche to the lower depths of the conference, and last place in the division. Only the Edmonton Oilers have fewer points in the West than the Avs. Not where this team expected themselves to be after a quarter of the season. Jarome Iginla has scored a goal in one game this season. A hefty price was paid to acquire the veteran winger, who was supposed to add leadership to the young core of forwards. He was supposed to be a guy who provided a steady presence to the lineup. Iginla has been a non-factor.

Tonight’s game started off with an even first period. Both teams mustered up 8 shots, but neither could solve the opposing goaltender. In the second period, the Caps big line broke the ice. Alex Ovechkin drove the Avalanche defense back, and while the Avs were focused on the caps Russian sniper, he was looking cross ice. Ovi found Niklas Backstrom through the seam, and Backstrom had plenty of time to beat Reto Berra with a wrister.

The Avalanche answered quickly. Nathan MacKinnon created a golden opportunity by utilizing his speed and strength to get to the net. Capitals net guardian Braden Holtby stuffed MacKinnon’s intial attempt, but the rebound found an opportunistic Daniel Briere, who twined and dined. Tie game baby! Unos across the board.

Despite the Avalanche winning the shot total in the second, 10-8, it was the Capitals who would find themselves leading. The Reto Berra factor reared its ugly head, on a Jason Chimera shot just over halfway through the frame. It was a relatively long and unscreened shot that Berra has to have in a tie game. Instead it handcuffed Reto, and struck cord top shelf. The Capitals headed to the locker room after two, intent on protecting their one-goal lead.

The Avalanche were familiar with needing a third period goal to tie a game up. They had done it twice in a row, in route to victories in New York and New Jersey. Why not again?

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Tyson Barrie answered the call, and tipped home a Gabriel Landeskog feed at 6:44 to tie things up at deuces. Pepsi Center was a rockin’, and it seemed the cards were going to align in the Avalanche’s favor yet again. Another come from behind victory.

Alex Ovechkin had other plans. With just under 6 minutes remaining, Ovechkin made a flithy move to get through Avs funny-man Jan Hejda. The move wasn’t as filthy as his mustache, but it was great nonetheless. Ovechkin managed to get a backhand shot away, but missed the net entirely. This proved to work in his favor, because the shot rebounded off the end-boards right back to his stick, and he was able to tuck in the game winning goal.

The Avalanche won the shot battle 29-23, but couldn’t close the deal. Have to feel for the boys tonight. The effort was there, and it just hurts to lose this game. Normally, you can just shrug off a loss like this, and say it wasn’t our night. Unfortunately, the Avalanche aren’t in a position to do that. They need it to be their night often to make up ground in the conference. Otherwise, it’s going to be another ping-pong ball offseason in Denver.