November 21, 2015 Game 20
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
The Colorado Avalanche came into tonight's game against the Washington Capitals looking to get things back on track after a three game winning streak to start their season-long seven-game road trip was followed immediately by losing two in a row. To say things got off to a dubious start would be significantly downplaying the reality of Colorado's horrific start to this game. An early Cody McLeod penalty put Washington on the power play and they would score just as McLeod came back onto the ice as a great passing play down low led to Justin Williams making it 1-0 Capitals just 3:05 into the contest.
The Capitals would keep their foot on the gas pedal as Alex Ovechkin would do what he does and score 4:10 after Williams, giving Washington a 2-0 lead. John Carlson would make it 3-0 at the 10:00 mark on a play where Avalanche goaltender Reto Berra inexplicably overcommitted on one side and took himself completely out of the goal, giving Carlson an empty net to shoot into. Avs Head Coach Patrick Roy would stick with Berra despite giving up three goals on seven shots in a decision that would prove costly.
Washington would take advantage of poor Avalanche defense and Nate Schmidt would score his first goal of the season on an uncontested shot as three Avs players watched him shoot without making any attempt to stop him and Berra would flail helplessly as the puck flew past him into the net, giving the Caps a 4-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
The Avalanche would respond with gusto, however, as Calvin Pickard came into the game at the beginning of the second period and made a handful of huge saves to keep the Avalanche within shouting distance. The Avalanche would claw their way back in as Carl Soderberg, Blake Comeau, and McLeod would combine for a pretty passing play that allowed McLeod to beat Braden Holtby and bring the game to 4-1. A late second period power play for the Avalanche would be cashed in on as Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog fought for a loose puck in front of Holtby and eventually moved it to Nathan MacKinnon, who sniped it past Holtby and gave the Avalanche new life at 4-2 heading into the third period.
Unfortunately, things would only get worse the Avalanche as an early power play became a power play goal for Evgeny Kuznetsov, pushing the lead to 5-2. Dmitry Orlov would make it 6-2 on one of the strangest goals you'll ever see as a rebound off Pickard followed Orlov behind the net and nobody on the ice except for Orlov knew where the puck went, giving him an empty net to score into once he had full regained possession. The final bright spot of the night was Andreas Martinsen getting his first NHL goal, scored off some part of his body as he deflected a Zach Redmond shot into the net. Congratulations, Andreas! Karl Alzner would score again late in the third to bring the final score to 7-3.