How the Avalanche imploded for fifth straight loss at reeling Canucks


The emotional high of Alexandar Georgiev’s season was aired on television after the seventh game. Two months and 30 games later, the low-point was also visible for everyone to see.

Georgiev smashed his stick against the crossbar twice after Vancouver scored its third goal in a crippling stretch of 153 seconds. That display of frustration was the culmination of an Avalanche meltdown in a 4-2 loss to the reeling Canucks on Thursday night.

Vancouver had lost three consecutive games and was entrenched in internal drama after J.T. Miller recently yelled at goalie Colin Delia to get off the ice late in a close game. In an ironic reversal, Cale Makar was left calming Georgiev (and perhaps apologizing for a defensive lapse) after the Canucks’ go-ahead goal.

Colorado (19-15-3) has lost five in a row.

The meltdown: Avalanche’s worst eight-minute stretch of season?

The Avs led 2-0 in the second period after Sam Girard scored. Then the Canucks outshot them 11-0 for a stunning last eight minutes. Colorado lost track of discipline, whistled for five penalties in the period.

The first goal was a product of bad luck. The Avs didn’t handle it well, then they spiraled. Vancouver’s tying and go-ahead goals both resulted from defensive failures from Colorado’s top two pairings.

It started when Andrew Cogliano attempted to clear the zone on an Avalanche penalty kill, but the referee didn’t get off the glass. The puck hit him and stayed in the zone. Andrei Kuzmenko scored a smooth backhand moments later, cutting the deficit in half. Cogliano confronted the official and was issued a 10-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. He disappeared for the remainder of the period.

Vancouver’s Elias Pettersson initiated the second goal by easily skating around Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson. As Pettersson carried it behind the net, Girard stopped skating and lost track of Kuzmenko, who floated into the crease and netted an easy rebound.

The flood gates were open. Devon Toews and Makar are perhaps the NHL’s most reliable blueline duo, but both mishandled the puck in the defensive zone to expose Georgiev. Brock Boeser scored a rebound 34 seconds after Kuzmenko’s.

Sloppy penalties on both teams

At times, the Avs and Canucks played like two teams on dueling losing streaks. Colorado committed eight total penalties, but there were three times when Vancouver was handed a power play then promptly committed an offsetting penalty within seconds.


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