October 18, 2015 Game 5
Staples Center, Los Angeles CA
The Colorado Avalanche came into Los Angeles looking for a perfect record on their first road trip and hoping to step above .500 for the first time in the 2015-2016 season. Instead, the Avalanche's high-flying offense was stifled by the King's stout defensive system and heavy forecheck.
The Avalanche played strong defensive hockey in the game's first period, but when the Avalanche did falter with a series of bad defensive slides, Marian Gaborik and the Kings were able to capitalize. After a relatively even, tightly fought first period, the Kings proceeded to absolutely dominate the next 40 minutes of the game, limiting the Avalanche to just 11 shots over the final two periods.
Though the Avalanche struggled to find much of an offensive spark, that's not to say this game was without it's fireworks. 2:44 seconds into the second period Cody McLeod went digging for a puck underneath Jonathan Quick and drew the ire of the Los Angeles Kings roster. Both Jack Skille and Cody McLeod would drop the gloves with Kings forwards, but McLeod and his dance partner Andreoff would be ejected for fighting after the officials broke up the first fight.
The Avalanche showed some brief signs of life on the power play in the 2nd period, when Matt Duchene tapped home an equalizing goal for his first point of the season. Unfortunately, an errant pass by Erik Johnson would give Tyler Toffoli a breakaway and give the Kings their game winning goal just 23 seconds later.
Matt Duchene scored the Avalanche's lone goal and broke a 4-game pointless streak to open the season.
With the Avalanche struggling to generate anything at even strength, Erik Johnson's turnover at the blueline was an absolutely fatal mistake for the Avs. The goal sucked any wind out of the Avs sails as they sleep-walked to just one even strength shot attempt in the final 30 minutes of the game.
BY THE NUMBERS
QUOTE OF THE GAME
Patrick Roy on backup goaltender Reto Berra:
Yes he was very good and he made some key saves at key moments in the game. For some reason he's really sound in front of his net and he's under control and everything seems pretty easy for him right now.
The Avalanche drop back below .500 on the season and hold position at last place in the Central Division. They trail the Chicago Blackhawks by 2 points. The Avalanche still have plenty of time to turn their season around, but their league-worst 36.8 CF% is alarming even this early in the season.
The Avalanche return to the Pepsi Center to battle the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday, October 21st.