May 6, 2021

Avalanche blows 2-0 lead and loses 3-2 at San Jose – The Denver Post

Avalanche blows 2-0 lead and loses 3-2 at San Jose – The Denver Post

With the tremendous talent on its top line and top defensive pairing, the Avalanche was 27-0-1 when taking a lead into the third period this season. But that probability didn’t pay off Wednesday night at SAP Center in San Jose, where top line and top pairing were pointless and a combined minus-10.

“Not enough importance put on our checking from that group of guys,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said of forwards Nathan MacKinnon, Gabe Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen and defensemen Cale Makar and Devon Toews, each minus-2.

Colorado, with its top players struggling, lost 3-2 to Sharks — blowing a 2-0 lead and allowing three goals in the last 21 minutes.

“For the most part, we had guys playing hard. We did some good things,” Bednar said. “We stuck with it, stuck with it and built a 2-0 lead, and then we kind of handed it back to them because we stopped checking. If if you’re not going to check you’re not going to win.”

The Avs saw their three-game winning streak end and MacKinnon didn’t produce a point on the road for the first time in 18 games. Failing to produce a point as a team, playoff-bound Colorado lost ground to the Vegas Golden Knights and Minnesota Wild in the wild West Division seeing race. The Knights defeated the Wild in overtime Wednesday, and Vegas extended its lead over the second-place Avs to four points, and third-place Minnesota got within one of Colorado.

The Avs (34-13-4), who have five remaining regular-season games, have a game in hand over Vegas (37-13-2) and Minnesota (33-14-5).

Sharks forward Tomas Hertl, playing in his 500th game, had a hand in all three goals, scoring twice on goalie Philipp Grubauer (30 saves).

San Jose scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the third period to take a 3-2 lead — its first of the game. Hertl struck 2:50 into the frame and Erik Karlsson scored a power-play goal at 9:18.

The Avs committed the only two penalties in the third period and both came in the offensive zone — Landeskog for hooking and Burakovsky for boarding. Karlsson capitalized with Landeskog in the penalty box.

“We took two penalties 200 feet from our net,” Bednar said. “One behind their net, one on their end boards. You’re giving talented group opportunities to stay in the game and opportunities to win the game in the end.”

Following a scoreless first period, the Avalanche struck twice late in the second to take a 2-0 lead. Forwards Tyson Jost and Andre Burakovsky got the goals — Jost with a backhand off a rebound and Burakovsky with the wrist shot from the left circle.

San Jose, however, cut its deficit in half with just 13 seconds in the frame. Hertl tapped in a 2-on-0 feed from Evander Kane. Makar and Toews were both beat on the play after the top line couldn’t gain possession of the puck in the offensive zone.

“It’s disappointing to say the least,” Jost said of the loss. “We started out good, gave ourselves a chance to win the hockey game in the third. We just didn’t execute. We didn’t play up to our standards … It’s unacceptable in our dressing room.”

Forward Alex Newhook made his NHL debut for the Avs, who selected him with the 16th pick of the 2019 draft. Newhook, a 20-year-old center, joined the Avs on Sunday after an eight-game stint with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles to begin his professional career.

He had five goals and nine points to lead the Eagles in scoring during that stretch.

“He seems like a real mature player. He has a good understanding of the way we want to play,” Bednar said of Newhook after the morning skate in San Jose. “He’s done real well in the short time with the Eagles. Looks like he’s ready.”

Newhook had one shot in 13:20 of ice time in his debut.

2021-05-06 00:28:17

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