The Colorado Avalanche allowed two late goals and dropped Monday’s contest against the Nashville Predators 4–3. The collapse overshadowed a historic and overall positive night in the Music City through the first 59 minutes.
Andrew Cogliano opened the scoring with his third goal in as many games. Devon Toews scored his third of the season. Valeri Nichushkin extended his goal streak to four games. Cale Makar became the first defenseman in Avalanche/Nordiques history to tally three assists in three consecutive games.
It had all the makings of a memorable win. Until it wasn’t.
As has been the case for most of the 2023–24 season thus far, the Avalanche did not play a great opening 20 minutes, but still managed to find themselves tied up at one goal apiece.
“I thought we made adjustments throughout the course of the game that got us playing better in the second (period) and the third,” head coach Jared Bednar told the media after the game. “I liked a lot of it. Obviously, an unfortunate result when you play that hard and you’re in a position to win the hockey game.”
Colorado opened the scoring on Cogliano’s third of the season, a shorthanded marker to boot. Nichushkin side-stepped a sprawled-out Predators defender before putting the puck on the net. Cogliano was in front to clean up the rebound. Before the first period ended, Filip Forsberg tallied his eighth of the year on a snipe.
Jeremy Lauzon put Nashville up 2–1 early in the second period before Colorado responded. Nathan MacKinnon did the heavy lifting to set up Toews’ slapshot from above the right circle through traffic and in. With the goal, the Avalanche defenseman extended his points streak to four games.
— Ryan Sikes (@ryan_sikes10) November 21, 2023
Speaking of four-game streaks, Nichushkin made it a 3–2 Colorado lead with under seven to play in the second period, redirecting Makar’s initial shot from the point. The Russian forward has goals in his last four games and five of the last six games.
The third period looked like it might go quietly before Rantanen’s penalty shifted the momentum in Nashville’s favor, allowing them to capitalize on some late-game heroics. Forsberg tallied his ninth of the season, batting the puck out of mid-air and in. Then, Nashville took the lead 16 seconds later to stun the Avalanche.
“Our compete down to the final whistle wasn’t quite there,” Toews said via Guerilla Sports. “You know, 6-on-5, we know our assignments. We’ve gone through it. Just that little desperation to finish it or get the puck out just wasn’t there and not all on the same page with it.”
Alexandar Georgiev saw his three-game win streak end on Monday, allowing four goals on 30 shots. He played well until the final minute and was a big piece in killing off all five of Nashville’s power plays.
Unfortunately, the Predators just had too many chances there where it felt like the game-tying goal was inevitable.
Avs let lead, game slip away
You could feel that coming. Maybe not to that epic proportion, but the Avalanche’s last shot on goal came off the stick of Makar with 6:25 left in regulation. It was all Predators down the stretch after Mikko Rantanen was called for tripping. The game-tying goal felt inevitable, but I doubt many believed Colorado would give up the go-ahead goal 16 seconds later. The Avalanche were under 40 seconds away from earning the full two points in regulation. Instead, they walked away empty-handed.
Makar makes history…again
It is a shame the Avalanche could not win that game because it takes the shine off Makar’s dominant play right now. As previously noted, the 25-year-old became the first defenseman in franchise history to record three assists in three straight games. Further, he joined Roman Josi, Ray Bourque and Paul Coffey as the fourth defenseman in NHL history with three consecutive games with 3+ assists. Lost in that, Makar also extended his points streak to seven games, the fourth-longest streak of his career.
Cale Makar enters Monday riding a six-game points streak. It's the fourth-longest points streak of his career (via @Stathead):
13 games: 2/13/22 – 3/8/22
9 games: 3/5/23 – 3/24/23
8 games: 1/5/23 – 1/28/23
6 games: 11/7/23 – 11/18/23 (active)
He'll look to extend that to seven… https://t.co/unI9xTEXqz
— Ryan Sikes (@ryan_sikes10) November 20, 2023
Forsberg loves playing the Avs
In every sport, there are always those players that are a thorn in another team’s side. Forsberg has been that guy against the Avalanche. With his two goals on Monday night, the Swedish forward now has 18 goals in 33 career games against Colorado, the most of any team he has played against. The Avalanche will not see Forsberg and the Predators again until March 2, 2024.
Nichushkin extends goal streak
With his second-period goal, Nichushkin extended his goal streak to four games. Few players in the NHL are hotter than the 28-year-old right now. Monday marked the fifth straight game in which Nichushkin has put at least four shots on goal. He is now just five tallies away from career goal No. 100 and 25 games from having 500 career NHL games under his belt. Barring injury, both marks will be achieved this season.
The Avalanche will return to home ice on Wednesday, hosting Quinn Hughes and the high-scoring Vancouver Canucks. Puck drop is set for 8 p.m. MST.