First Period

Colorado didn’t allow a shot until 8:37. Unfortunately, the first allowed shot of the game resulted in a goal against. The Kings managed to clear the puck ahead as it rimmed around the boards which led to an odd-man rush the other way. Devon Toews was the man back and tried to get between Anze Kopitar’s cross-slot pass to Adrian Kempe at the netfront, but Kempe was able to snap it past Georgiev.

After taking a penalty two minutes into its start – followed by a solid penalty kill – the Avs were off to a tough start in spite of good shifts in the Kings end.

In the final eight minutes of the period, Colorado looked to have shaken the first goal off. After a solid chance in the offensive zone, LA managed to clear the puck and dumped the puck in to Colorado’s end.

Artturi Lehkonen and Val NIchushkin battled to win it back along the boards, but Kopitar managed to work it free. Gabriel Vilardi snatched it up and wristed it in shortside with a quick release to put the Kings up 2-0.

Thirty-four seconds later, Alex Newhook went to the box for hooking and Colorado went on the kill for a second time.

With sixteen seconds left in the kill, Georgiev made a huge save on Phil Danault’s point-blank chance. The Avs escaped the period down by two.

Despite the score, Colorado didn’t have a bad period. They outshot, outchanced, and controlled 5-on-5 possession against the Kings.

Second Period

At 3:53, Andrew Cogliano took a hooking penalty and Colorado went on their third straight kill. Not unlike their other kills, the Avs pretty effectively shut down LA’s powerplay. Right after it expired, Logan O’Connor managed to lead a chance on the rush, but the Avs were thwarted.

At 7:27, Georgiev had stopped a chance at distance and the play was whistled dead. Viktor Arvidsson took a crosscheck at Girard’s back and snowed Georgiev, so a few Avs skated in to take issue with it. LA’s Sean Walker skated in and tackled Cale Makar to the ice.

Walker was called for his action, and Colorado earned their first powerplay. Good puck movement allowed the Avs to sustain pressure even after the man advantage expired. Val Nichushkin helped to retrieve a rebound, and Alex Newhook reset up high with a pass to Girard. Girard one-timed it to the net, and Evan Rodrigues was in perfect position to redirect it in.

Rodrigues went without a goal in February through an 11-game stretch. He last scored on March 4th against Dallas, but the wave of relief that washed over him after the goal was observable.

Mikko Rantanen drew a slashing call and Colorado earned another chance, but this one was less pretty from the first – the Avs allowed two shots against.

In the final minute, Georgiev came up with a huge save on a Trevor Moore breakaway.

The Avs were fortunate to close in on the deficit with a goal, but they lost a bit of an edge in this frame. They were outshot 15-9, but they created more dangerous chances at even strength and otherwise.

Third Period

Twenty-four seconds into the start, a turnover in the defensive zone on a failed clear led to a netfront chance from Adrian Kempe who backhanded it in. Colorado failed to retrieve the puck after three Kings shot attempts and Kempe settled Vladislav Gavrikov’s pass in the slot for the goal.

At 3:15, Kempe took a hooking penalty and the Avs had a powerplay chance. Near its end, Makar set MacKinnon up at the top of the right circle and MacKinnon wristed it in.

Fifteen seconds later, shortly after a defensive zone faceoff, Jordan Spence ripped a shot toward Georgiev and Danault tipped it in.

With 3:52 left, Colorado rook a faceoff in LA’s end and Georgiev went to the bench for the extra skater. At 2:35 Danault launched it into the empty net. The Los Angeles Kings won 5-2.

The shots settled 31-30 in favor of LA. Colorado kept it close in the third period, but they were unable to regain the edge that they lost in the second period.

The penalty kill was perfect, but that won’t lift them in the standings tonight.

Observations

Poor response to momentum-crushing events: Especially looking at the first period, the Avs did exactly what was expected of them in terms of execution. Perhaps they deserved a better fate coming out of it than a two-goal deficit. Still, they were treading water having to kill off two minor penalties in that frame.

They didn’t grant themselves any favors in the second. Their possession dipped compared to their first period and the Kings already had the leverage they needed from the first period to make the small margin hurt.

They were forced to kill another penalty early which was stifling, but things really unraveled in their second powerplay opportunity wherein the Kings generated scoring chances of their own and earned a 66.67% Corsi for percentage on the Avs own powerplay. 

The small momentum-crushing events from the failed powerplay to the penalty kill to start the period (and a penalty kill to wrap the first period) hemmed the Avs in a constant state of needing to restart, regroup, and begin the next shift with more jump – only the next shift often came with another momentum-killing wave to contend with.

The waves weren’t tsunami sized, but the margin for error was paper thin against a hot LA team having a terrific night in net.

Come the third period, a goal within the first twenty-four seconds delivered a harsher blow, and Colorado just didn’t have a strong response handy.

Jared Bednar’s postgame comments: “It’s a focus and determination of passion, a deep desire and a will to want to win,” he said. “That’s what it seems like tonight. Again, it wasn’t a horribly played hockey game from us, but we didn’t get the result we wanted. I just can’t help but feel like there’s still another gear for us to get to. How do we get there?  We gotta want it. We got to want it more than we want it right now.”

Cale Makar’s postgame comments: “We gotta get there,” he started. “It’s focusing on those habits and bringing them every single night regardless of our opponent. Right now, we’re giving them some chances that we aren’t getting on the other side of the game. It’s just tightening those things up. They’re really easy fixes. It’s mentally checking in every single shift and making sure that it all starts with good communication on our end. It’s those minimal breakdowns, and I feel like tonight, we only gave them a few but they were capitalizing on them. Then you look at our offensive chances and we weren’t getting any really ‘Grade A’s’ like they did. It’s easy to mitigate those, but we just have to be able to do it.

We had a tough start to the (third) period there. You get some momentum and then they come right back to score. It’s a playoff-style game. You’re gonna have those ebbs and flows and we have to find a way to manage that, especially right now. It’s a good learning curve for us as a team. We live and we learn and we move on.”

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