The Colorado Avalanche were without their top scorer, and their top defenseman – which also happened to be tied for the team lead in goals. But those holes in the lineup weren’t what sunk the Avs on Saturday.
The Avalanche overcame a three-goal deficit and got goals from five different players, but Brady Tkachuk’s second goal of the night came on a breakaway in overtime, giving the Ottawa Senators a 6-5 overtime victory. The gaping hole in goaltender depth that has plagued Colorado for coach Jared Bednar’s tenure reared its ugly head again, as Tim Stutzle added two goals and an assist in addition to Tkachuk’s three points.
Here are three takeaways from Saturday’s Avalanche loss Ottawa:
Toews Continues Offensive Onslaught
Devon Toews has played in around half of Colorado’s games this season, but he’s been almost as electrifying on offense as Cale Makar has been. Toews scored a goal and an assist on Saturday, giving him four goals and nine helpers on the campaign. That’s seven points behind Makar – who has played in six more games.
Toews was great on Saturday. His goal tied the game at five with just 1:20 left in regulation. Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog made a great play to keep the puck in the zone, and then the two of them played catch until Toews ripped a one-timer for the equalizer. Landeskog benefited from another Toews rip from the point in the first period. Landeskog tipped in a Toews shot midway through the first to help the Avalanche even the score at 2-2 through 20 minutes.
In his second season with the Avalanche, Toews didn’t see his first game of this campaign until Nov. 6. He’s made up for lost time, however, as he’s scored at least a point in nine of the 12 games he’s played in this season. He has at least a point in six of the last seven contest, and also has at least a point in every home game he’s played this season. It was his goal on the road on Saturday that salvaged a point for the Avalanche after they trailed by three goals in the second period.
Newhook Scores a Sizzler
Toews’ late goal got the Avalanche to overtime, but Alex Newhook gave Colorado a boost with a one-man show that slowed down Ottawa’s onslaught in the second period. It was the fourth goal of Newhook’s career, but just the first one that he scored away from Ball Arena. It was also the second goal he’s scored against Ottawa this season, as he also added a goal in Colorado’s 7-5 win over the Senators on Nov. 22.
The goal came just 1:50 after Ottawa had taken a 5-2 lead, and Newhook took it upon himself to try and get the Avalanche back into the contest. Newhook forced a turnover near center ice, promptly weaved through four Senators defenders, and then beat Ottawa goaltender Anton Forsberg with a wicked top shelf wrister to cut the lead back to two goals.
Newhook also set up a couple of other great chances, including a breakaway chance for Logan O’Connor in the second period. He was one of the more active Avalanche players all game, as he also assisted on Darren Helm’s first-period tally that opened the scoring. Helm’s third goal of the season and first in three weeks when he scored on Nov. 11 in a win against the Vancouver Canucks.
Avs Have a Serious Goaltender Problem
Jonas Johansson started the game, but he didn’t finish it, giving up four goals through the first 22:49 of the game. It turned out that rotten start is what wound up sinking Colorado against the Senators. Thanks to injuries and just plain poor depth, the Avs turned to Justus Annunen after Josh Norris’ 10th goal of the season made it 4-2 early in the second.
It was Annunen’s first NHL appearance, and he almost pulled off the victory. He stopped 17 of the 19 shots he faced. He gave up Stutzle’s second goal of the game on a second-period power play, and then Tkachuk’s breakaway in overtime. The Senators were the lowest-scoring team in the NHL this season entering Saturday’s contests. They had scored five goals or more in just three of their previous 21 games, but they scored five goals in less than 28 minutes against Colorado on Saturday.
Ottawa was shut out three times in their previous eight games, but have looked like the 1985 Edmonton Oilers against Colorado. In 22 games this season, the Senators have scored 57 goals. A whopping 11 of those have come against Colorado – meaning the Avalanche are responsible for nearly 20 percent of the Senators total offense so far this season.
Saturday’s tilt was the third game of a five-game road swing, and regular goalie Darcy Kuemper was injured in the morning skate before the first game of the trip. Colorado still has two games left on this road trip, and have allowed 15 goals through the first three. The Avs head to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers on Monday before facing off against the New York Rangers on Wednesday.
Lifelong storyteller and experienced hockey reporter that has covered everything from major juniors to the NHL. Worked for various newspapers across Minnesota and North Dakota, and now covering the Colorado Avalanche for THW.