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Coming off last night’s disappointing home loss against the Winnipeg Jets, much was made of tonight’s contest between the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes as the Avalanche certainly outplayed the Jets last night but were shut out 1-0 for their troubles.
A strong start against the Coyotes set the tone for the rest of the evening as the Avalanche poured on shots and controlled possession but one bad pinch by Erik Johnson created a 3-on-2 opportunity for the Coyotes and former Av Radim Vrbata slipped the puck past Avs goaltender Calvin Pickard for the 1-0 lead. It was like a miniature version of the Jets game for the Avs as they outplayed their opponent but saw themselves down by one.
The Avalanche came out firing all the same and their persistence finally paid off at 5:51 of the second period as Matt Duchene took a gorgeous pass from Mikhail Grigorenko and made a nice move in front of the net before backhanding the puck in to draw the game even at 1 apiece. Each team would get power play chances but the game entered the third tied.
The Avalanche continued getting after it in the third period and made their own luck as a strange puck bounce landed right on the stick of Rene Bourque, scored the first goal of his Avalanche career and gave the Avs their first lead since the first period of their game against the Florida Panthers seven days ago.
Not satisfied with just a one-goal lead, Duchene took a cross-ice pass from Gabriel Landeskog, flew down the right wing, and beat Coyotes goaltender Louie Domingue to make it 3-1. Domingue did get a piece of the puck but it still fluttered into the net for the two-goal Avalanche lead.
Colorado would need the cushion as Eric Gelinas and Francois Beauchemin fell asleep at the wheel and allowed Tobias Rieder to split them with ease for a breakaway and he beat Pickard to close the gap 3-2 with right around four minutes remaining in the third period.
A furious rally of shots at the end fell short and the Avalanche walked away 3-2 winners.
1. Matt Duchene
2. Radim Vrbata
PLAY OF THE GAME
Duchene’s second goal of the night proved to be the game-winner and what a play it was as he showcased his trademark speed and deadly shot.
Rene Bourque’s goal early in the third period pushed the Avalanche ahead 2-1 and broke a scoreless drought of over 100 minutes.
BY THE NUMBERS
Colorado returns to game action on Tuesday night as the Nashville Predators come calling. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. local time.