November 3, 2015 Game 12
Pepsi Center Denver, CO
The Colorado Avalanche came into tonight’s game against the Calgary Flames desperately in need of a “get right game” and they got off to a decent start as Matt Duchene continued trying to get the over-sized monkey off his back with a nice goal off his own rebound with just 22 seconds remaining in the first period to give the Avs a 1-0 lead going into the second period.
Calgary forward Johnny Gaudreau would score the equalizer 4:08 into the second period on a 2-on-1 rush that was the result of a terrible decision by Nick Holden to try to hold the puck in the Avs offensive zone. Eight minutes would pass before a flurry of action changed the course of the game.
Following an excellent shift by Ben Street‘s line, Colorado’s highest scoring group would push the Avs ahead as Nathan MacKinnon found Tyson Barrie at the blue line who fired a shot that would be directed into the net by Jarome Iginla for the 2-1 lead.
A questionable holding penalty by Brandon Gormley gave the Flames a power play opportunity to tie the game but a terrific series of forechecks, started by Carl Soderberg and continued by Gabriel Landeskog and Jack Skille, would see Erik Johnson blast home a short handed goal from the blue line to give Colorado a 3-1 lead.
Sam Bennett, twice denied goals earlier in the contest on goals that were disallowed for various reasons, finally got on the scoreboard for real as he beat a combination of Duchene behind the net and Holden and Barrie in front of it before ultimately slipping the puck behind Semyon Varlamov to make it 3-2 after two periods.
The Avalanche would enter yet another third period with the lead and fail to hang on to it as the hockey gods exacted revenge for their earlier good tidings as a deflected puck off an Avs defenseman would tie the game up at 3-3 at the 7:34 mark of the period. Jiri Hudler is credited with the goal but an assist should go to Erik Johnson for his world class screen of Varlamov on the play.
The Avalanche would re-take the lead with just under seeven minutes remaining in the game when Nick Holden dumped the puck into the Calgary zone, Iginla retrieved it, beat his man badly and made a pass to MacKinnon, who fired a rocket past the helpless Karri Ramo to give the Avs the 4-3 lead.
Duchene would score his second of the night on the power play just minutes later on a deflection off a shot from Francois Beauchemin, his second assist of the night, and push the Avalanche ahead to 5-3.
A Jarome Iginla empty-net would make it 6-3 and put the game officially out of reach for the Flames.
1. Jarome Iginla – 2 goals, 1 assist
2. Matt Duchene – 2 goals, 6 shots on goal
3. Erik Johnson – 1 goal, 1 assist
PLAY OF THE GAME
The icing on the cake, Duchene’s second goal put this one out of reach for the Flames and ensured the Avalanche would be walking out of this one with two points.
After multiple third period collapses this season, for the Avalanche to give up yet another lead in the third but to respond by upping their game and taking back control was huge.
BY THE NUMBERS
QUOTE OF THE GAME
“That opening night kind of scarred us a little bit. Every time before tonight we would get in that tie game gripping the sticks and not staying the course playing hockey the way we can play. Tonight we did that after they scored and it just shows the character we have in this room.” – Forward Matt Duchene
Despite the victory, the Avalanche remain entrenched in last place in the Central Division at nine points, five behind sixth place Chicago.
The Avalanche next play on Thursday, November 5 on the road against the Arizona Coyotes.