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Colorado Avalanche, The Morning After 4-2 loss to Buffalo

The Avalanche lost 4-2 to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night, finishing the five-game homestand 1-4.


  1. Evander Kane. Game-winning goal for the Sabres’ leading scorer.
  2. Nathan MacKinnon. Two power-play goals for the Avalanche.
  3. Ryan O’Reilly. Had two points, and his caused turnover and assist on Buffalo’s shorthanded goal gave the visitors a 1-0 lead.

Tyson Barrie played a team-high 27:24 and was minus-2. He was on the Avalanche’s power-play unit that scored two goals but took minuses on Buffalo’s second and fourth goals. Erik Johnson logged 24:36, a couple minutes shy of his team-leading average.


At Tampa Bay, Thursday, 5:30 p.m. MT

Five takeaways: 

Factored. O’Reilly — a k a Factor, the former Av — was plus-2 in 19:24, most among Buffalo forwards. I thought he made the play of the game on the PK early in the first period, when he stripped Alex Kerfoot of the puck against the wall and raced up ice before dishing to Benoit Pouliot for the game’s first goal. O’Reilly entered the game tied for the worst rating in the league, minus-19, and the Sabres had scored just once in their previous four games. Avs fans probably don’t want to hear it, but O’Reilly had a great game in his former digs.

Captain freed. Gabe Landeskog served the fourth and final game of his NHL suspension for cross checking Matthew Tkachuk in the side of the head Nov. 25. I had an exclusive interview with the Avs captain after the game and will post that story online Wednesday while I’m en route to Tampa, Fla. It will run in Thursday’s paper.

Great Nate. MacKinnon produced his 10th multiple-point game of the season and is all but assured of representing the Avs as an NHL All-Star for the second straight year. He scored both of his power-play goals with short-side wrist shots. His 10 goals is just six shy of what he produced in 82 games last season. MacKinnon was on the ice for five of the game’s six goals — every one except the game-winner — and finished minus-2. But he’s the only guy who put the puck in the net for Colorado and he’s a threat to score or create one for a teammate every time he’s on the ice.

Onside. I — along with most everyone in the building — thought the Avs would win the coach’s challenge to negate Buffalo’s second goal. But it makes sense now. It was touch-up offside, and you can read the NHL’s explanation below. (Personally, this all made sense once I thought of this as general touch-up onside — a teammate is inside the offense zone, and you, from the neutral zone, dump the puck in the offensive zone, knowing the teammate will come out of the zone to prevent a whistle and force the opponent to break out of its zone. This is a good rule. Prevents a needless whistle/faceoff. USA Hockey doesn’t allow this for kids under 12, and it drives me crazy. Touch-up onside is a good rule, and the Sabres made it work a different way Tuesday.)

From the NHL: At 18:59 of the second period in the Sabres/Avalanche game, Colorado requested a Coach’s Challenge to review whether Buffalo was off-side prior to Jake McCabe’s goal.

After reviewing all available replays and consulting with the Linesman, NHL Hockey Operations staff confirmed that that all Sabres players tagged up at the blue line prior to Johan Larsson touching the puck in the offensive zone, rendering the play onside. Therefore the original call stands – good goal Buffalo Sabres.

Bad on draws, again. The Avs were 29-33 in faceoffs, finishing below 50 percent once again. They entered last in the league in faceoff percentage and now stand at a league-low 43.4. MacKinnon was a respectable 10-6.

Road trip. The Avs, who are 4-7-1 on the road, embark on a four-game trip Thursday at Tampa Bay, the NHL’s best team. Colorado plays Florida on Saturday and then has a back-to-back set at Pittsburgh and Washington next week. Perhaps the Avs can shock some people on the trip after they surprisingly lost four of five at home.

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