With the calendar finally turning from September to October the Avalanche flew to Anaheim to embark on the final week of the 2015-2016 preseason but came up short in a 3-0 loss to the Ducks.  The Ducks dominated the game early then held on with a strong defensive effort as the punchless Avs were shutout for a third time this preseason.

Highlights:

Short Game Recap:

The Avalanche came out with another slow preseason start, giving up two goals in the first five minutes of the game.  Offseason acquisitions Shawn Horcoff and Mike Santorelli scored the Ducks first two goals in just five minutes, beating the Avalanche defense to a pair of rebounds around the goal crease.  The Ducks kept pouring on the offense and finished the first period on pace for 54 shots on goal.

While the Avalanche did tilt the ice back in their favor as the game progressed, they were not able to beat John Gibson (who left after the 2nd period with illness) or his replacement Anton Khudobin. The Avalanche pulled Semyon Varlamov late in the game for an extra attacker and surrendered a goal to Carl Hagelin for a final score of 3-0.

The Avalanche got another opportunity to practice 3-on-3 overtime but spent the first few minutes of the extra frame hemmed in their own zone by the Ducks. After successfully killing off a Carl Soderberg slashing penalty, Matt Duchene tipped a Tyson Barrie wrist-shot past Khudobin for an overtime tally.

When/Where:

October 1, 2015; Preseason Game 5
Honda Center in Anaheim California

Three Stars:

  1. Shawn Horcoff (1G 4 SOG GWG)
  2. Cam Fowler (20:21 TOI 2 SOG)
  3. Hampus Lindholm (2A 22:54 TOI)

Play of the Game:

Matt Duchene’s picture perfect deflection in mandatory overtime was the play of the game, even if it doesn’t count:

Turning Point:

After being completely out-possessed by the Ducks for the first 30 minutes, Nathan MacKinnon rushed down the ice, outmuscled a pair of Ducks defensemen, and snapped a puck off the post.  The outstanding individual effort sparked an offensive resurgence for the Avalanche which saw them outshoot the Ducks 23-12 the rest of the way.

By the Numbers:

The Ducks dominated the first half of the game outshooting the Avalanche 24-8 through 30 minutes of play.  The Avalanche would finish the game with a 31-33 shot deficit thanks to the Ducks switching to a more defensive scheme, but the real number of note here is goals or rather, lack of goals.  The Avalanche have been shut out in 3 of their first 5 preseason games and scored just 1 goal in their last 12 periods of preseason hockey.

The Avalanche have one week and one more game to flip the goal-scoring switch before standings points are on the line.

Lasting Impact:

Mikko Rantanen, Curtis Glencross, and Jack Skille all played their roles but none did anything in particular to separate themselves from the pack in the race for one of the 13 forward roster spots.  On the defensive end, however, Nick Holden had a disastrous first period with his man scoring both Ducks goals.  Holden, Stuart, and Guenin are likely in competition for the 6th and final spot on the opening night defense, so a bad night for any of the three defensemen could see them land in the press box.

What’s Next?:

The Avs visit Las Vegas for their final preseason game, facing the Los Angeles Kings in Frozen Fury XVII.  Puck drops Saturday October 3rd at 8:00PM Mountain.

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Cole Hamilton

Cole is Vancouver born but a Colorado native at heart, spending 21 years in the Denver and Boulder area. This CU Boulder graduate started covering the Avalanche with Mile High Hockey in 2011 and after four years took over briefly as the site's managing editor. After a year trapped in Chicago Blackhawk's territory Cole is back in Boulder writing on the Avalanche and their prospects.

  • Eric C

    I’m trying not to hop on the doom train but honestly it is more of the same for this team. When does potential end and not good enough for NHL begin? Duchene, MacKinnon, Landy etc these guys seem to have skill but seem to get manhandled in actual games. After the preseason start does anyone even think we stand a chance to beat the Wild in game 1? The culture in Colorado seems to be weak offense, weak defense and little to no possession. I’m not sure how that will ever lead to winning much less a Cup. I keep expecting growth or change but it’s more of the same. I am sick of turning on a game and finding out the Avs are down 1 goal in the 1st minute. This seems to be their MO. I have faith but I fear this team is what they are and that is not very good.

    • Chris DeMott

      Nathan MacKinnon is 20 years old and for most of the game was the best player on the ice… at Center! That is a very good sign! The Avs did not play their top D pair and Nick Holden who was beat for both goals will probably be on Nacho duty more often than not. Yes, it appeared that the Avs were playing a 5 man passive box while the “pressure” guy, alligator armed poke checks at the puck carrier for the entire first period. But, do not give up hope. Gormley actually looks pretty good. Rantanen is going to be a stud. It’s only a preseason game, let’s see how it goes against the Kings.

      • Eric C

        So how’s that cup of optimism? And yet again I hear of this bright future for this team yet on ice they stink and have shown no growth. Same old Avs.

        • Chris DeMott

          My elixir tastes terrible — but what else do you have to serve? I saw some guys that showed some pride, Mack once again was one of the best on the ice. Your point about the same old Avs misses the fact that at least according to the roster, it isn’t. The problem is more systematic than anything else. Until they get rid of that soft zone that is better suited to teaching peewee’s where to stand than stopping NHL offenses they will struggle to score. This roster is built for a transition game, this roster has ton’s of skill. But, you can’t get this roster into the offensive zone if they are standing still in their own end, guarding empty ice and waving their sticks back and forth. As a Patrick Roy fan I hate to say it, but the Roy of two years ago who was teaching “tracking” man pressure and team transition had a chance. This one may not be around long enough to play in the Old Timers game in February.

  • Forsberger

    Thanks for the highlights (for those of us not able to see the game on TV)! Looks like the Avs had their share of chances (in the latter half of the game at least) and just couldn’t pot one in regulation. Gormley looked really good on the highlight plays too.