Date/Game Number October 21, 2015 Game 6
City/Arena Pepsi Center Denver, CO
Returning home from a quick road trip to South California, the Avalanche came out strong in the first period, outshooting the Carolina Hurricans 9-5 and generally dominating the play. Despite the litany of positives early on, the Avalanche finished the first 0-for-4 on the power play and took a scoreless tie into the second.
The second period was more of the same from the first as a bevy of penalties gave way to uneven even strength play and the Avs finished the period having stretched their shots lead to 16-10 but the score remained deadlocked at zero apiece. Semyon Varlamov came up a key save in the final minute of the period as a bad defensive change allowed a clean breakaway for Carolina but to no avail.
The third period matched the first two in being low-event hockey until a great save by Cam Ward on Matt Duchene in the final minutes put a signature moment on this one and helped the Hurricanes get to overtime.
The Avalanche got their first crack at the new 3-on-3 format the NHL is employing in overtime this year and immediately showed why they could be such a lethal team in this format as Duchene made a brilliant pass to Jarome Iginla to set Iginla up on a clear breakaway but Ward was yet again up to the task. With Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog trapped in a long shift thanks to aggressive puckhandling by Ward, tired legs led to the Avs demise as Victor Rask blew by an exhausted Landeskog and beat Varlamov for the games only goal, giving Carolina the 1-0 victory.
In a 1-0 game, how could it be anything other than the game's only goal?
You could make a reasonable argument for either Ward's save against Duchene in the third or against Iginla in overtime but because Duchene's shot appeared to be going wide anyway, his save against Iginla wins out. Without rising to the challenge yet again, Colorado would have walked away with the victory.
BY THE NUMBERS
QUOTE OF THE GAME
"The last three games we gave up what, two goals, three with tonight in the overtime. Three goals against. This is good defense. The offense will be taken care of. I'm confident of that." - Head Coach Patrick Roy
The Avalanche gained a point, bringing their season total to five with a record of 2-3-1, good enough for last place in the Central Division just one point behind the Chicago Blackhawks but five points behind the division leaders (Dallas, Nashville, St. Louis).
Colorado has yet another two day rest before resuming play on Saturday night, October 24 at home versus the winless Columbus Blue Jackets.