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The Colorado Avalanche are well on their way to a long-term stay in the bottom of the NHL standings if they can’t solve their early-game woes. Tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets was more of the same as Colorado pressed right off the bat, failed to capitalize, took a lazy penalty, and then gave up a goal right away.
The Blue Jackets may not have scored on the power play but just as Rene Bourque stepped onto the ice, Brandon Saad was banging home a rebound from a Scott Hartnell shot and past Semyon Varlamov for the 1-0 lead.
Not content being down just by one, the Avalanche failed to respond to the Columbus goal in any meaningful way and their apathy burned them when Erik Johnson made another awful decision with the puck that started a 3-on-1 for the Blue Jackets. Some crisp passing on the odd-man rush and Nick Foligno made it 2-0 after the first period, yet another awful start for a club that can’t seem to find its way at home.
Colorado spent the first half of the second period getting caved in as Columbus continued pouring on the shots and pressure and seemingly out of nowhere, the Avalanche tilted the ice back in their favor, getting a power play in the process. A Johnson shot from the point actually made it through traffic for once and Blake Comeau was positioned perfectly for the rebound goal, making it 2-1 and giving the team some jump.
The Avs would use that jump effectively, dominating the next several minutes, culminating in rookie Samuel Henley tying the game up on a seeing-eye slap shot. It was Henley’s first NHL goal in his first NHL game and it sent the game to the third period locked in at 2-2.
After killing three consecutive penalties to start the third period, Colorado would finally relinquish the seemingly inevitable go-ahead Columbus goal as Fedor Tyutin and Comeau combined to botch an easy, clean breakout and Boone Jenner took advantage of the gongshow puck security to make it 3-2 at 8:57 of the third period.
The Avalanche actually tied the game up on a Comeau deflection of a John Mitchell shot but it was ultimately waived off for high-sticking, the second time Mitchell had a point taken away on the night. The Avalanche would fail to beat Bobrovsky again and the Blue Jackets won 3-2, making Colorado 0-3-1 on their homestand with one game remaining.
1. Semyon Varlamov
2. Brandon Saad
3. Boone Jenner
PLAY OF THE GAME
Sam Henley scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game on his first NHL shot on goal. No beating that.
The botched breakout that turned into Jenner’s goal was a calamity of epic proportions and spoke to exactly what head coach Jared Bednar spoke of after the loss against Nashville when he said the team was giving up too many easy goals.
BY THE NUMBERS
Colorado finishes up its five-game homestand when the Dallas Stars come to town Saturday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. local time.