3 Takeaways From Avalanche’s 3-1 Loss To Stars

Prior to Friday night, the Colorado Avalanche had been one of the hottest teams in the NHL, winning their last six games, but the Dallas Stars shut that streak down with authority.

Joe Pavelski scored two goals just 19 seconds apart in the opening two minutes, and the Stars rode that wave to a 3-1 win over the Avalanche on Friday. The second goal was Pavelski’s sixth of the season, and the 400th of his career. Cale Makar scored late in the third to fend off the shutout. It has been 58 games since Colorado was held off the scoreboard, considering the last time the Avalanche were shut out was Feb. 22, 2021 – just 15 games into last season – when they were blanked by Marc-Andre Fleury and the Vegas Golden Knights.

Here are three takeaways from Friday’s loss in Texas:

Makar Keeps Rolling

The Avalanche lost, but Makar’s third-period goal extended his goal-scoring streak to five games. That set a franchise record for consecutive games with a goal by an Avalanche defenseman. The previous mark of four games was held by both Sandis Ozolinsh (1996) and Erik Johnson (2014), and the only other defenseman to score in five straight games over the last 10 years was Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators (2019).

Cale Makar Colorado Avalanche
Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

During the streak, Makar has scored seven goals and tallied a pair of assists. He already has nine goals in 15 games played this season, putting him just three shy of his career mark of 12 set in his Calder Trophy-winning rookie campaign of 2019-20. Makar sits third on the team in points behind Nazem Kadri and Gabriel Landeskog, who assisted on Makar’s tally.

Makar leads all NHL defensemen in goals with nine, and Josi is second with seven. The Avalanche standout is tied for sixth in points by a defenseman, however. New York Rangers standout Adam Fox, who won the Norris Trophy last season, leads all defensemen with 21 points behind 17 assists.

Kadri’s Streak Disappears

Kadri entered Friday’s contest with a 10-game point streak, but that went up in a cloud of smoke on Friday. He didn’t record his first shot on goal until 1:08 into the second period, and finished with a team-high four in the game, but couldn’t light the lamp. It was the first time he was held off the scoresheet since Oct. 26 in a loss to the Golden Knights.

Nazem Kadri Colorado Avalanche
Nazem Kadri, Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The charge by Kadri was much needed, especially with Nathan MacKinnon and the resurgent J.T. Compher sidelined with injuries. It’s also somewhat of a return to form for Kadri compared to the last couple of seasons. Kadri has seven goals and 18 assists through 17 games this season – which is just seven short of his total points from last year, and 11 points shy of his total from 2019-20.

Related: Avalanche’s Kadri Deserves Contract Extension

The burst had pushed him to fourth in the NHL in scoring with 25 points entering Friday, trailing only Leon Draisaitl (40) and Connor McDavid (36) of the Edmonton Oilers, and Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin (36). Kadri dropped to fifth in scoring after Friday’s results, as Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov tallied three assists – helping Ovechkin tally a hat trick – on Friday to give him 27 points.

Power Play Comes Up Short

The power play had been one of the driving forces behind Colorado’s six-game winning streak entering Friday’s game. The Avalanche scored 10 power-play goals during those six games, going a blistering 10-for-28 (35.7 percent). The Avalanche were ranked 31st in the NHL on the power play before that hot streak jumped them to ninth (21.2 percent).

But all that was erased on Friday. Colorado went 0-for-3 on the power play for the game. They were 0-for-2 in the first period and didn’t even get a shot on goal during those tries. Mikko Rantanen entered the game tied for seventh in the NHL with four power-play goals this season, with three of those coming in the last six games. Rantanen also saw his four-game point streak snapped.

Colorado Avalanche Mikko Rantanen
Colorado Avalanche Mikko Rantanen (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Craig Lassig)

A lot of the power-play struggles had to with the Stars, who were entering on a sizzling special teams streak of their own. Over the last four games, Dallas has 14-for-15 on the penalty kill, and has actually outscored their opponents during those 15 chances, getting two short-handed goals in that span. Despite the loss, Colorado is 8-2-1 over its last 11 games. The Avalanche return to Denver to take on the Nashville Predators on Saturday, before traveling to face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Dec. 1.

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