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Point taken

Point takenOfficial summary Colorado Avalanche vs Minnesota Wild.

One point is better than none, and that is the mindset the Colorado Avalanche has after falling 3-2 in a shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild on Friday. The Avs outshot the Wild 30-27 and had a 58-42 edge in shots attempted but lost in the third round of the shootout.

"I don't like giving up two [points], but I liked the way we played again tonight," Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said after the contest. "I think our belief system is starting to grow, and we are putting some games together here that we are playing well in and we will take the point."

Minnesota came out firing and found the back of the net just 1:13 into the first period but Colorado bounced back with two goals by the end of the stanza to take the lead into the first intermission.

"They started fast here so we knew we were going to have to match that intensity," said rookie forward J.T. Compher. "Thought we did a pretty good job, and as the [first] period went along we got better and better."

Compher scored a short-handed marker halfway through the opening frame; his second tally on the penalty kill this season. Left wing Gabriel Landeskog stole the puck and sent it into the neutral zone where Compher was able to capitalize on a breakaway.

"First, it was a great play by Landy, to strip it and chip the puck to me," Compher said. "Then I just had a breakaway and [the coaches] have been telling me to shoot, so that's what I did."

After allowing Minnesota to score so early in the contest, it was important for the Avs to quickly respond with a goal of their own. "It was a good hockey game. We know they were going to come out hard at home. They always do, and they score early so things can get a little scary at that point," said Bednar. "But I like the way we dug in and answered back with two goals."

The club remained calm but skated with drive and determination through the first frame to insure they would continue to be a force in the game. "We talked about it early, getting pucks behind their D, grinding on the forecheck. And that's important," forward Blake Comeau said about the club's mentality after the Wild's first marker. "You are not always going to score the first goal, but it's important that you stick with what you know is going to give you success and I thought we did that."

The veteran Comeau scored the Avs' second tally after receiving the puck in the neutral zone from Tyson Barrie and Carl Soderberg. "They threw it far side and it bounced off the wall, and I remember just yelling 'quick up,'" Comeau said of his fifth goal of the season. "Carl made a great play there just tapping it to the middle of the ice. Me and [Matt Nieto] had a 2-on-1, [the defenseman] took the pass away and I thought I saw the goalie checking a little bit on the pass, so I just tried to fire it glove and I was happy to see it go in."

Minnesota tied the game at two in the second period with a power-play tally, but the next goal in the contest did not come again until the shootout. "We played a great game, and just lost in a shootout," said Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson. "Loved our game start to finish, and you know they scored early and they are really good when they get a lead early at home. I liked our compete coming back. We had a great road game. You hate to lose the second point, but you kind of leave that to the toss up there in the shootout. Overall, a great game from us."

Goaltender Jonathan Bernier made 25 saves in the outing, including six in overtime. It was his third start in a row for Colorado. "Obviously, that's not the way you want to end it in a shootout," Bernier said. "But as a group, I thought we competed really hard. We gave up on the first shot, a goal, but then we score two so that shows a lot of character."

For the 29-year-old netminder, the outcome was not what he was wanted for his team but noted the Avs played strong. "Solid road game," he said. "Obviously, we don't want to give them an extra point, but we compete really hard. We managed to come back in the game. I thought overall it was a really solid performance. Through the last few games, the Avs have been able to stay true to who they are and be resilient while fighting back from goal deficits. Coach Bednar says staying committed to the integrity of the club throughout the season will be key for the Avalanche.

"Establishing our identity and being determined enough and committed enough to stick with it every day," Bednar said of Colorado's belief system. "We have certain things that we talk about as far as what we have to do to win every night and we are getting better at it. I think we are taking some steps forward here and these last couple is a good indication of that."

BARRIE TIES BLAKE

Tyson Barrie's assist on Blake Comeau's marker in the second period was his 208th NHL point and tied him for fourth place among franchise defensemen in scoring. He has 17 points (two goals, 15 assists) in 20 contests this season. The rear guard is second on the team in assists and is tied for third in overall points.

Barrie started the season by registering a point in each of his first six home games, the first Avalanche blueliner to ever do that. The six-game home point streak at the beginning of the campaign was the second-longest by any player in Colorado history, trailing only Alex Tanguay who had eight games in 2005-06.

The Victoria, British Columbia, native holds the franchise record for game-winning goals (15) and overtime tallies (four) by a rear guard.

HEADING HOME FOR FIVE GAMES

Friday's contest was the first of a back-to-back set for Colorado as the Avs return home to host the Calgary Flames on Saturday night. The contest against the Flames will be the first of five games at Pepsi Center for the Avalanche.

The Avalanche is 7-1-1 at home this season, with the overtime loss coming in Stockholm, Sweden, against the Ottawa Senators in the first game of the 2017 NHL Global Series. Colorado has scored 40 goals on home ice and has a home power play (27.8 percent) and penalty kill (92.6 percent) that both rank fourth in the NHL.

"You have to be good every day in this league in order to survive, and we are starting to get there," coach Bednar said after the contest in Minnesota. "So I look forward to getting home, and it is a big stretch. Hopefully, we can continue what we have been doing at home here for this homestand."

--by Callie Parmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com--


Eurolanche.com, Worldwide, eurolanche@eurolanche.com
25/11/2017 - 07:00

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