Sin City takes no hostages, and Saturday’s game between the Colorado Avalanche and the Vegas Golden Knights was certainly no exception.
Colorado finished the game on the losing side of a 7–0 score. Where the team historically thrived, mistakes cost the team the game and came up short of handing Vegas its first loss of the season.
Lack of fluidity, poor communication and compiled errors were the main contributors to such a loss, but the night did not start that way.
Right out of the gate, both teams seemed evenly matched. The Golden Knights were facing their first challenging team of the season, as both teams were two of the last three undefeated teams in the league.
Colorado put up 12 shots to Vegas’ 14.
Alexandar Georgiev was solid in front of the net and had several key saves in the first frame. Defensively, the Avalanche came to play and were certainly a force to be reckoned with.
The Golden Knights are known for taking advantage of their opponent at any chance, and they found such a chance while the Avalanche were on the power play. Cale Makar caught an edge and took a slow recovery while Vegas netted its first goal with 3:23 remaining. Not discouraged, the Avalanche continued to forecheck well and were still in the game.
The first half of the second period was similar to the first and Colorado was determined to have a good showing.
The third line was causing trouble for the Golden Knights. Miles Wood, Ross Colton and Logan O’Connor meshed well and took several chances on the goal. The Avalanche did a good job of continuing to apply pressure to its opponent’s defense.
As communication dwindled, Vegas exploited Colorado’s weaknesses. The home team netted a second goal to bring the score to 2–0. Though a win was still attainable, the Avalanche began to be their own worst enemy.
A giveaway by Valeri Nichushkin brought the game to 3–0 and the home team showed no signs of slowing down. With only 6:35 remaining in the period, the margin increased by one more and the Avalanche only had 20 minutes to get back into the contest.
The team’s offensive pressure throughout the period showed and the final tally of shots came down 12–11 in favor of Colorado.
Colorado had a lot of room for improvement in the last frame. Tomas Tatar drew a penalty to send the Avalanche to the power play just over a minute into the period.
For the second time in the game, the team allowed Vegas to net their second shorthanded goal. A 5–0 deficit was not a great situation to be in and the roster knew it. Instead of rolling over and allowing the loss to be taken from them, they battled back.
The Avalanche outshot their opponent 17–9 in the third period and the team tried to buckle down and at least put one goal in their column.
10:52 into the frame, the Golden Knights put another goal on the board, all but denying the team from achieving any sort of comeback. The final nail in the coffin was the seventh goal of the game, with 5:24 remaining on the clock.
In total, Colorado outshot the home team 41–34, but simply could not convert and suffered a shutout on the road.
To put it simply, the game was uncharacteristic of the Avalanche on all fronts. The team historically performs well on the road and rarely loses in such a fashion. Concerningly, this is the third shutout of the last four games.
Nichushkin, a typically reliable player, had a -4 rating for the game and zero shots on the goal, and Jonathan Drouin followed closely behind him with -3 and only one shot on the goal.
Out of four power plays, the team capitalized on none of them, rather let the Golden Knights score two shorthanded goals.
The team suits up against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. The Devils are sitting third in the Metropolitan Division and are 6–3–1 for the season.