Avalanche spoils Cale Makar’s stellar night with shootout loss against Kings


Nights like this from Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen shouldn’t be taken for granted. Nor should they be wasted.

Makar had a three-point second period and Rantanen made his two best passes of the season, but the Avalanche blew a 4-2 third-period lead in a 5-4 shootout loss to Los Angeles on Thursday night, only keeping one point after two seemed attainable.

Adrian Kempe’s shootout goal ended Colorado’s nine-game win streak against the Kings. Rantanen and Evan Rodrigues were unable to score in the shootout.

Sean Walker scored with 5:40 remaining in regulation to tie it, and the Avs (19-12-3) couldn’t convert a power play opportunity in the last three minutes. This was the fourth consecutive game at Ball Arena that has required overtime. The home team had managed to escape the first three.

The Avalanche’s recent pattern of slow starts continued when Gabriel Vilardi flicked a shot from the faceoff circle past Alexandar Georgiev. Colorado had a chance to erase the early gap with a man advantage late in the first period, but the best scoring chance of the power play belonged to Los Angeles. Shots were 12-7 Kings at the break.

The Avs haven’t led at first intermission since Dec. 10 vs. the Rangers. In nine games since then, they’ve been outscored 8-1 in the first period. Stretching back 15 games, they have been outscored 15-4 in the opening frame, only leading once at first intermission.

But their second periods in those nine games? The Avs have outscored opponents 11-5. They scored four against the Kings, each of them seemingly more highlight-worthy than the last.

Fantastic forechecking by Devon Toews kept Colorado in the offensive zone during a power play long enough for Rodrigues and Rantanen to play tic-tac-toe with the puck, navigating it to J.T. Compher for the easiest finish of his life. After Los Angeles reclaimed the lead, Andrew Cogliano raised eyebrows with a confident finish on the rush.


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