Loss to Wash­ing­ton worth watch­ing


The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Terry Frei

One team — the Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals— came in with 50 wins, the most in the NHL.

The other — the Avalanche — came in with 52 losses, the most in the NHL.

Guess which one won? And, no, this isn’t a trick ques­tion.

Al­though it be­comes tempt­ing dur­ing hor­ri­ble sea­sons to lump all losses to­gether as rot­ten, unim­pres­sive show­ings, this wasn’t one of those. The Avalanche ac­tu­ally looked as if it be­longed on the same ice with the Cap­i­tals on Wed­nes­day night while fall­ing 5- 3 in one of the more en­ter­tain­ing hockey games at the Pepsi Cen­ter this sea­son.

Mikko Ran­ta­nen, Matt Ni­eto and Nathan MacK­in­non scored for the Avalanche, with MacK­in­non’s bring­ing Colorado to within 4- 3 at 4: 29 of the third pe­riod. His 16th goal of the sea­son came on a skate through Cap­i­tals de­fend­ers and then a ter­rific shot to beat Wash­ing­ton backup goalie Philipp Grubauer — the kind of play the Avalanche had hoped would come more of­ten from the top over­all choice in the 2013 draft.

John Carl­son, Jay Bea­gle, Mar­cus Jo­hans­son and Evgeny Kuznetsov had the goals for the Cap­i­tals, who led 4- 1 be­fore the Avalanche came back — but not all the way, de­spite putting on more pres­sure in the fi­nal min­utes. Ul­ti­mately, Lars Eller added an empty- net­ter for the Cap­i­tals with 1: 22 left. Alex Ovechkin and Nick­las Back­strom skated through point­less nights for the Cap­i­tals.

The Avalanche next faces St. Louis at home Fri­day night, and there is a pos­si­bil­ity that Tyson Jost — the North Dakota fresh­man cen­ter who signed with Colorado on Wed­nes­day night— will be able to suit up and make his NHL de­but.

Cap­i­tals de­fense­man Dmitry Orlov flips the puck over Avalanche left wing Gabriel Lan­deskog in the sec­ond pe­riod ofWed­nes­day night’s game at the Pepsi Cen­ter. David Zalubowski, The As­so­ci­ated Press

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