3 Takeaways From Avalanche’s 6-3 Loss To Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers got a hat trick in the second period from Evander Kane, and Mike Smith continued his dominance in regulation over the Colorado Avalanche as the Oilers dumped the Avs, 6-3, on Friday. The hat trick gave Kane 20 goals for the seventh consecutive season. Smith hasn’t lost to Colorado in regulation since 2008, when he was with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

It was just the second time this season Colorado lost when leading after the first period, dropping the Avalanche’s record under those circumstances to 30-2. It was also Colorado’s third loss in a row, matching their longest losing streak of the season. Here are three takeaways from Colorado’s third consecutive loss:

Nichushkin Pours It On

It’s already a well-documented career year for Valeri Nichushkin, but the Avalanche forward keeps coming up big for Colorado. He scored two goals on Friday, his fourth multi-goal game of the season. Entering the 2021-22 campaign, he had just one multi-goal game in his career. Nichushkin now has two multi-goal efforts in his last six games, and 24 goals on the season.

Valeri Nichushkin Colorado Avalanche
Valeri Nichushkin, Colorado Avalanche (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Nichushkin scored the only goal of the opening period on Friday, hammering home a one-timer for his 23rd goal of the season. After the Oilers took the lead with a pair of goals just 1:22 apart early in the second, Nichushkin scored his second of the game 15 seconds after Edmonton’s go-ahead tally.

Related: Colorado Avalanche’s Nichushkin Proving His Value

The first-period goal extended his point streak to seven games, which is the longest of his career. He has three goals and four assists during the point streak. His longest career point streak before this current one was only four games, which he accomplished once in 2019 and another time earlier this season.

Power Play Fizzles Out

The final score showed a three-goal difference, but it wasn’t like the Avalanche didn’t have every opportunity to make up that deficit. Colorado was an abysmal 0-for-6 on the power play for the game. The six power plays were the most for the Avalanche in any game this season. During their three-game losing streak, the team is just 1-for-9 with the man advantage.

Mike Smith Edmonton Oilers
Mike Smith made 17 saves on the penalty kill for the Edmonton Oilers on Friday. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Colorado was also stonewalled during a 5-on-3 advantage for a span of 1:11 between the end of the first period and start of the second. Killing that 5-on-3 sparked the Oilers, who scored a pair of goals not long after killing that off. Kane scored first, with Evan Bouchard scoring a crazy goal just 1:22 later that bounced off the glass behind the net before he knocked it in.

Smith played an enormous role in Colorado’s power-play futility. Smith made a staggering 17 saves with his team down a skater, which equaled his save total with the Oilers at even strength. He made six saves alone on Colorado’s last power play of the night. Smith is now 13-1-5 against Colorado in his career, with the lone regulation loss coming on Nov. 29, 2008.

Avalanche On a Skid

For just the second time this season, the Avalanche have lost three consecutive games in regulation. The skid comes with just four games left in the regular season, and the first three-game losing streak came just four games into the season, all the way back in October. Outside of those three-game skids, Colorado has only lost back-to-back games — in overtime or otherwise — three times this season.

Colorado Avalanche Mikko Rantanen
Colorado Avalanche left wing Mikko Rantanen missed his second straight game on Friday. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig, File)

The problem during the current skid? Oddly enough, it’s been Colorado’s offense. The Avalanche have scored just seven goals over the past three games. Their lowest three-game total all season is only six goals, and Colorado would have matched that on Friday, if not for Nathan MacKinnon’s late goal in the third period.

It’s no coincidence that the offense has struggled with Mikko Rantanen missing the last two games. Only four different players have scored for Colorado during the losing streak. Nichushkin has three goals, while Artturi Lehkonen has a pair. Cale Makar and MacKinnon round out the goals with one apiece during the losing streak. The Avalanche will look to get back on track on Sunday when their road trip continues against the Winnipeg Jets.

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