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