Terrible, mistake-filled third period dooms Colorado, which falls 4-1 at Winnipeg.
winnipeg, manitoba» The turnovers and odd-man rushes again continue to pile up for the Avalanche.
Not coincidentally, so do the losses.
The Avs generated hardly any offense in the first two periods and then surrendered goals 69 seconds apart off bad turnovers early in the third, eventually falling 4-1 to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday at the MTS Centre.
“Right now it’s major breakdowns that are hurting us,” said Jarome Iginla, who had Colorado’s goal late in the third. “Our goalies are playing well. It’s unfortunate we’re leaving them … with a few two-on-ones and breakaways.
“That’s all of us. That’s forwards covering for the D, the D making the right reads. It’s all of us in front of the goalies, and we’re not good enough in that area right now.”
Colorado trailed 1-0 going into the third period but showed some spunk in the opening minute, forcing Winnipeg to turn the puck over twice in its own zone, but couldn’t make it pay.
Two minutes later it all fell apart.
First, Andreas Martinsen paused ever so briefly at the Jets blue line after losing control of a pass, perhaps thinking a defenseman was there to scoop up the puck. There was no one there, however, and the Jets quickly went the other way. Mathieu Perreault raced down the left side and fed the puck over to Blake Wheeler, who chipped his ninth of the season past Calvin Pickard.
Then, only 1:09 later, Mikhail Grigorenko lost the puck at his own blue line while trying to carry it out of his own zone. Mark Scheifele took the gift, fed it quickly to Nikolaj Ehlers in front of the net, and the second-year player, who added an empty-netter in the final minute, made no mistake over Pickard’s left shoulder.
Patrik Laine’s 18th goal of the season, which opened the scoring midway through the second, was scored on a 2on-1.
“We’ve said it the last three or four games: Every chance and every goal they get it feels like we’re giving it to them,” captain Gabe Landeskog said in Colorado’s quiet dressing room after the contest.
It was Colorado’s third consecutive loss and 10th in its last 12 outings, two of those in extra time. Regardless, the Avs remain firmly entrenched in the NHL’s basement with an 11-18-1 record.
Coach Jared Bednar said frustration is the emotion that is prevailing in the dressing room these days.
“You can’t worry about the past, especially when you’re going through something like this,” Bednar said. “You’ve got to get ready for the next game. Our group has done a good job of doing that. And then we come out to play the next night, but when things don’t go your way early or something ends up in the back of your net, you can see the frustration setting in for sure.”
Iginla snapped a nine-game goal drought and at the same time notched a much needed power-play goal for the Avs, who were 0-for-9 in their last two games and failed to score on their first two opportunities Sunday. Iginla’s tally with 2:01 to go actually occurred on a two-man advantage, as Pickard had been pulled for the extra attacker.
From left, the Winnipeg Jets’ Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers and Mark Scheifele celebrate after Ehlers scored an empty-net goal, to the chagrin of the Avs’ Tyson Barrie, far left, and Gabe Landeskog.