The Colorado Avalanche picked up a point, but fell 2-1 in a shootout against the New York Rangers on Friday night at Ball Arena. Colorado is now 13-10-2 on the season.
For the Avalanche, Mikko Rantanen scored the lone goal in regulation. Valery Nikhushkin returned to the lineup after being sidelined since Oct. 25 and undergoing ankle surgery. in net, Alexander Georgiev made 28 saves on 29 shots.
For the Rangers, Braden Schneider scored in regulation. Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin scored in the shootout. In between the pipes, Igor Shesterkin made 41 saves on 42 shots.
The Avalanche walked away from their second meeting of the season against the Rangers pleased with their overall effort, but disappointed to not collect the two points. Results aside, Colorado took positives from its play and the morale boost from getting Nichushkin back in the lineup.
Throughout the majority of the fairly titled first period – where the Avalanche maintained possession and produced some decent looks on net and outshot New York 12-8 – they finally secured the game’s icebreaker late in the frame at 14:38.
Colorado took a 1-0 lead on a subsequent play following an offensive zone faceoff win by Alex Newhook. The faceoff win fell to defenseman Samuel Girard who quickly returned the puck to Newhook. The winger redirected the pass into the high slot to his linemate as Rantanen blasted a low one-timer that beat Shesterkin, who was shielded by Nichushkin’s towering 6-foot-4 frame at the net front.
The Rangers equalized the score 1-1 early in the second period on an odd-man rush. Artemi Panarin led the charge as he carried the puck out of the Rangers’ zone and attacked the Avalanche net. As he skated up ice, he and his linemate Filip Chytil drew out Colorado’s brad hunt and a backchecking Rantanen, but Panarin dropped the pass back to his defenseman Scheneider, who joined the rush. From just inside the right faceoff circle, Schneider wired his blast under Georgiev’s glove at 4:56.
Both sides continued to play a high-flying game – as neither team took a penalty through two periods of play. Colorado generated some good looks to test Shesterkin – including a flurry of chances from a strong shift by Jean Luc Foudy midway in the frame and Charles Hudon and a shot from Devon Toews off the rush that struck the crossbar with three minutes left in the period – but weren’t able to capitalize to regain the lead.
Both sides showed desperation in the third period – and each received power plays, but neither converted – as tight-checking play ensued throughout the entirety of the period. Colorado had some late pushes – and an 11-6 shot advantage – but was unable to beat Shesterkin as the time expired in regulation.
Overtime wasn’t enough so for the second time this season, the Avalanche and Rangers required a shootout to decide a victor.
Georgiev denied Vincent Trocheck on the first shootout attempt, but was beaten over his glove side by Zibanejad and was tricked by Panarin, who roofed his shot to secure the two points. For the Avalanche, Compher’s pump fake was smothered while Rantanen’s shot was denied.
- Rantanen buried his team-leading 16th goal of the season.
- Nichushkin returned to Colorado’s lineup for the first time since Oct. 25 and his ankle surgery. The winger skated alongside Mikko Rantanen and Alex Newhook, skated 22:02 minutes (1:46 on the power play, 22 seconds on the penalty kill), fired off three shots, and finished the game with a plus-one rating. Prior to his injury, Nichushkin had totaled 12 points on seven goals and five assists and scored five of his goals on the power play.
- Brad Hunt was recalled from the Colorado Eagles and made his debut in an Avalanche sweater. The 34-year-old defenseman skated alongside Andrew Englundtotaled 10:25 minutes, and fired one shot.
- Georgiev made his 18th start of the season, while his record fell to 11-5-1.
- Colorado finished the game 0-for-1 on the power play and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill.
- Artur Lehkonen (upper body), Nathan MacKinnon (upper body) and Evan Rodrigues (lower body) were all scratches for the Avalanche.
The Avalanche travel to St. Louis for a matinee game on Sunday at Enterprise Center. The puck drops between the Avs and Blues at 1 pm MT.
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