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Bowen Byram scores two but Avs fall short in shootout against the Ducks

Meghan Angley Avatar
December 3, 2023

The Colorado Avalanche came to The Pond in hopes of delivering Anaheim’s ninth straight loss.

Things were obviously tough for the Ducks after their 8-2 loss to Colorado on November 15th in Ball Arena. They lost eight straight from that point.

Tonight they had the chance to reset the losing skid that followed that game against the team that spurred it on. A strong goaltending performance for the Ducks and penalty struggles from the Avs forced overtime, and Colorado lost 4-3 in the shootout.

Anaheim was desperate to get back in the win column.

At the drop of the puck, Brett Leason got around Bowen Byram on the breakaway and Ivan Prosvetov had the save.

Josh Manson battled to retrieve the puck and set Ross Colton and Miles Wood up for the breakout. Wood carried the puck up ice with speed with Logan O’Connor on his flank in a two-on-one. Wood dropped the puck for Byram in the slot and he wristed it in thirty-six seconds into the contest.

Colorado earned one of their first powerplay opportunities of the night but couldn’t capitalize.

Eight minutes into the first, Manson made the breakout pass again to Fredrik Olofsson. Olofsson fed Byram skating in the neutral zone. Another two-on-one developed with Andrew Cogliano at his side. Byram opted to take the shot from inside the left circle and beat John Gibson short-side.

Manson took a hooking penalty soon after.

The Avs were the second-most penalized in the league in the month of November and had the best record of anyone proportionate to that.

Despite the strength of their penalty kill so far, tonight it took a couple hits.

Frank Vatrano made the cross-slot pass to Ryan Strome at the left circle, and Strome sailed a pass to the netfront for Adam Henrique to bang home.

It was a terrific pass from Strome that evaded Cale Makar and Devon Toews to get to the net.

The Avs issued a response late in the period.

Colorado lost a faceoff in the defensive zone, but Mikko Rantanen attacked off the draw and took away the puck.

Rantanen tagged MacKinnon to meet him up ice with the help of Toews. Rantanen received Toews’ pass to gain entry and got the pass through Max Jones and Henrique.

Toews skated the puck into the left circle and wristed it past Gibson in the final minute.

Colorado’s commitment in the first period was admirable, but Anaheim’s hunger was palatable. Shots were tied between both teams, but Anaheim registered a few more high-danger chances.

Prosvetov gave the Avs a chance to win in the first period.

The Ducks hounded Colorado in their end.

In the opening minutes of the second period, Anaheim won a neutral zone faceoff. Olofsson got a handle on it but accidentally sent the puck to Alex Killorn.

Killorn made a big drive to the net and dropped the puck back between Byram’s legs at the last second to Leo Carlsson waiting at the bottom of the slot. Carlsson lifted into the open corner of the net.

Then at the midway point, Carlsson and Killorn were back at it again. The Avs were seconds away from successfully killing their penalty when Carlsson made the pass from behind the goal line to Killorn in the right circle.

Killorn sent it glove-side and in.

The Ducks scored on two of their three powerplay chances tonight and Colorado’s powerplay streak was snapped as they weren’t able to convert on any of their three chances.

Anaheim snuck out of the second period tied with Colorado and shots favored them 10-9.

It’s worth mentioning that the Avs had some Grade-A chances denied by Gibson (including some Jack Johnson wristers).

It’s a good thing Colorado capitalized on their chances when they did because Gibson’s game improved as the night went on and beating him became a challenge.

Their d-zone coverage experienced some breakdowns in the second, and it allowed just enough space for Anaheim to climb back into the game.

It was a strong third period from the Avs, but Gibson was a brick wall – including a lucky stop on Colton coming out of the penalty box. He finished the night with 21 saves on high-to-medium danger chances.

The Avs won the shots battle in the third period and controlled five-on-five possession. They played responsibly as well.

Despite their best efforts, the game went to overtime.

Makar did not appear in the OT period. He last skated with 2:57 left in the third period and wasn’t seen again.

Jared Bednar said that Makar was dealing with something and unavailable for the remainder of the game.

Makar’s status might be the biggest concern to come from this game.

Without one of their OT heroes, it was a shaky five minutes. Anaheim appeared to have a leg up on them. There were some long shifts that exhausted the Avs, but they hung in there. Byram and MacKinnon had two close chances. The final seconds included a burst from the Ducks, so it was a relief it ended.

As for the shootout, Jonathan Drouin, MacKinnon, and Rantanen were all denied as Gibson continued to have an impressive night in net.

It was 18-year old rookie, Leo Carlsson, who beat Prosvetov to win it for Anaheim and snap their eight game losing streak.

On one hand, it was great to see Byram snap his own scoring drought. He was without a point in the last three games and last scored on November 9th against the Kraken.

On the other hand, it’s frustrating to see them drop another close game well within their grasp.

If this had been a blowout, that would be a different and worse problem.

But it’s still frustrating to see them put up three goals in the first period and lapse just enough defensively to allow three back.

On the topic of lapses, discipline remains an issue. The Avs are the seventh most penalized team in the league through this point.

Both sides of special teams needed to be better tonight, but the penalty kill can only do so much.

Overall, it’s still important that the Avs collected a point on the night. They can’t dwell on it for too long because they’re on to Los Angeles tomorrow night for the second leg of a back-to-back.

The Kings are 7-2-1 in their last ten and well rested, so they should be a worthy competitor. Colorado needs to focus on bringing their A-game for tomorrow more than anything.

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