The Avalanche completely dominated the first period Sunday night against the Washington Capitals as they outshot them 12-to-4. Maxime Talbot took a shot on net that trickled behind Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby but rookie Nathan Mackinnon couldn’t get to the puck in time to put the Avs up. Cody McLeod led the charge after a backhand shot that was deflected by Patrick Bordeleau; the play was under review as the Capitals bench believed Bordy’s stick was too high. After review, the goal was confirmed, as Patrick Bordeleau scored his 2nd goal of the season, assisted by Cody McLeod and Marc-Andre Cliché. A questionable call as Matt Duchene came away with the puck after a turnover by Washington, as he went to his left; he was hooked by Caps defenseman Karl Alzner. He was called for a 2-minute minor for hooking, but no one was between Duchene and the goalie, so it should have been a penalty shot. After mustering three great shots on net, the Avalanche failed to score on the power play. The Avs however had another chance to score, after a wonderful lead pass from Parenteau to O’Reilly, as he then passed it to Duchene who whiffed on the backhand, and hit the boards hard. The Capitals didn’t really have many chances as Joel Ward missed an opportunity to tie it up and shot one wide. Avs finished off the first period with the lead, 1-to-0.
The second period started off with Washington defensemen Nate Schmidt with a great opportunity as he took a slap-shot from the blue line that was stuffed by Varlamov. Mackinnon with his blistering speed skated past the Washington defense as he took a wrister that deflected off of Holtby and Talbot’s rebound opportunity went wide. Caps had a good chance to tie the game up after a 2-on-1, but a late whistle for offside prevented that from happening. After the offside however, Washington’s Jason Chimera was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for complaining about the call, leading to an Avalanche power play. Avs didn’t capitalize on the power play, but had a shot after McGinn led Parenteau with a good pass as he whiffed on it in the crease. Max Talbot was called for tripping on Marcus Johansson, as the Caps were set to go up against the number one ranked penalty-kill unit in the National Hockey League, sitting at 87.5%. The Caps in the previous three games were 7-for-16 on the power play, but Varly shut the door on them with big saves. Ryan O’Reilly forced two-straight turnovers as both were 1-on-1s, but they didn’t score. Joel Ward finally put the Capitals on the board, tying the game up 1-to-1, as the puck took a ricochet off the boards and right to Ward in front of the net. Colorado however, answered right back as rookie Nate Holden recorded his first NHL goal, with the assists going to Gabriel Landeskog and Paul Stastny. Avs took the 2-to-1 lead heading into the second intermission.
Capitals had their chances early on in the 3rd as a couple of shots went off the far post and Varlamov stuffed them. Cory Sarich of the Avs was called for hooking, a two-minute minor. The Avs were also called for too-many men a minute into the power play, giving the Caps a solid 5-on-3 opportunity. But Semyon Varlamov and the Avalanche defense were block shots left and right, as they failed to score a goal. The Avs quickly got on the board as Matt Duchene with a nice pass set up P.A. Parenteau for his sixth goal of the season, putting the Avalanche up 3-to-1. Cory Sarich headed to the box for the second time in the period as he was called for interference; the Capitals couldn’t find the back of the net as one shot hit off the post. Ovechkin was called for roughing after a scuffle with Cody McLeod leading to the Avs power play, which they couldn’t convert. Ovechkin appeared to have a goal for the Caps, but it was waved off because he kicked it in. Avs netted one more goal as Gabriel Landeskog scored his sixth goal of the season, blowing by Ovechkin. Avs finished the game solid, earning the win 4-to-1.
With that win over the Caps, the Avalanche have defeated them four-straight times.
3rd Star. Jan Hejda (4 blocks, +3 rating).
2nd Star. Nick Holden (1st NHL Goal, GWG Goal).
1st Star: Semyon Varlamov (33/34 saves .971%).