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Recap: Avs fall flat in road-trip opener to Jackets

Apr 1, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing Miles Wood (28) and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jake Christiansen (23) crash into goalie Daniil Tarasov (40)during the second period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

It was no April Fool’s joke for the Colorado Avalanche.

They came into Columbus for the first time since 2021 but fell to the Blue Jackets in a 3-1 loss. They couldn’t get into the game enough and dug themselves into a hole they couldn’t dig out of.

Daniil Tarasov was brilliant for the Columbus Blue Jackets, making 46 saves in the win. It’s not like it wasn’t for a lack of chances for Colorado. But here’s how it all went down.

First Period

Artturi Lehkonen nearly scored in the opening seconds when his shot snuck through the legs of Tarasov, but it was swept off the line and behind him. After Cale Makar’s shot hit the post, not much offense came from either side.

Nathan MacKinnon had a few looks denied by Tarasov, while Justus Annunen did well when called upon. Penalties to Sam Girard and Zach Werenski gave both teams short power plays but led to nothing but donuts on the scoreboard heading into the intermission.

Second Period

The first half of the first period was a carbon copy of the first period. Even with a Chris Wagner tripping penalty killed off, it didn’t change much. But, it wouldn’t last long.

Kirill Marchenko would score the opening goal with a little redirect in front. While the Avs are very good at pulling off a similar play, they couldn’t stop it this time around.

Marchenko nearly got his second when Makar turned the puck over and he beat him in a race to Annunen, but the goaltender made the stop. Meanwhile, at the other end, a high-stick on Jonathan Drouin went uncalled, but yet the play was stopped to tend to his injury.

It would be beneficial at the other end, with Alex Nylander getting in on the scoring twice. He scored his first goal on a 2-on-1, while the third goal of the game and his second found his stick on a rebound. Just like that, the Avs had work to do down 3-0 with 20 minutes to go.

Third Period

After Columbus killed off a too-many-men penalty, they were reliant on Tarasov who had been stellar. But finally, the Avs managed to beat him. It took a deflection from Wagner, coming into the lineup for this game, to get them on the board.

But yet, Tarasov continued to dominate in the crease. He did well on another power play when Makar was high-sticked, and robbed MacKinnon in the blue paint with a ton of open net behind him.

Eventually, his Jackets teammates would fight better in the neutral zone and hold Colorado back. Despite pulling Annunen with three minutes to go, it led to no success and left the Avalanche fooled by the Jackets on April Fools Day and finished off with a Cole Sillinger empty netter to make it 4-1.

Yeti Takeaways

Colorado started slow, and never got back into it once they fell behind. They had their chances in the first period but then had difficulty beating Tarasov, who was brilliant in this game. The Avs outshot the Blue Jackets 47-25 but could not find the twine enough. Annunen was good too but was beaten enough without the help of his teammates in front of him to earn the loss.

For the second time in a week, a loss against an Eastern Conference opponent has hurt Colorado’s run to the top of the Central Division. They lost 2-1 last week at home to the Montreal Canadiens, and this loss is just no good for the Avs. These are the games you’re expected to win, especially at this point in the season. These two losses just might cost the Avalanche’s chances for the division, which is killer, to say the least.

Next on the Mountain

The Avs head to the first of a back-to-back which starts on Thursday night against the Minnesota Wild. Puck drop is at 6:00 p.m. MT.

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