Avalanche suffer a brutal loss and suddenly can’t win on the road

Feb 22, 2024, 7:49 PM

A tough 1-4-1 road trip for the Colorado Avalanche after the All-Star break is still apparently an issue.

The Avs couldn’t keep their momentum from a couple of wins at Ball Arena rolling on Thursday night, losing to the Red Wings 2-1 in overtime in Detroit. Colorado is now 13-13-5 on the road this season, still not getting above .500 if you count the games they earned points in.

Nathan MacKinnon scored the first goal of the night on a beautiful pass from Mikko Rantanen to put the Avalanche up 1-0 in the second period. Colorado had been dominating the action, and MacKinnon was rewarded with his 34th tally of the year.

Backup goalie Justus Annunen was really solid in net, saving 30 pucks and playing his best game of the season. With the trade-deadline looming in early March, it was the kind of performance that makes Avs president Joe Sakic and general manager Chris MacFarland know they can trust Annunen behind Alexandar Georgiev.

But it wasn’t enough. Detroit tied the game 1-1 with 7:58 to go in the third period and then veteran Patrick Kane won it with a slick shot in overtime. Annunen couldn’t do much on either goal, and walked away a hard-luck loser.

After the brutal swing out East following the break, the Avalanche got two big wins at home. They took down Arizona 4-3 and then Vancouver 3-1, the team everyone is chasing in the Western Conference. This was a setback in a contest that looked like it’d go their way.

The Avs will return home for two games against Toronto and Dallas before heading back on the road. The game against the Stars will be huge, with Colorado now one point back of them in Central Division. Dallas fell to Ottawa on Thursday night, but still leads the way with 76 points. The Avalanche have 75.

The stretch after the break wasn’t fun, but it appeared like the Avs had things back on track. Instead, this group is seemingly good enough to win on the road, but they couldn’t earn a big victory against the Red Wings with a timely goal, despite the solid goaltending.

It’s something they’ll need to figure out. And do it fast.


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