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Postgame Wrap-Up: Strong Effort Not Enough vs. Jets

Special-teams mistakes hurt Avalanche in Winnipeg

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

WINNIPEG, Manitoba--The way the Colorado Avalanche played against one of the top teams in the league is encouraging, but mistakes on special teams prevented a strong effort from equaling two points in the standings.

Colorado opened up a five-game road trip on Tuesday with a 7-4 loss at Bell MTS Place after the Winnipeg Jet converted on 3-of-4 power-play opportunities and added a short-handed marker as well.

"No. 1, I wanted us to compete to win and our effort was there," said Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar afterward. "Our tenaciousness was there. I thought we were gritty on pucks, lots of second and third efforts. Five-on-five, I liked our game a lot, but we made a couple mistakes. Some unforced mistakes, bad reads on two of those rushes, and it ended up in the back of our net. Against a team like Winnipeg, you just can't do that."

The Avs held the Jets to just seven shots on goal in each period and outshot their opponent 41-21 overall, but they couldn't get back into the game after falling to a 4-1 deficit in the second period.

Colorado did make it a one-goal contest heading into the second intermission after Carl Soderberg and Ryan Graves tallied in a matter of 93 seconds late the middle period, but Winnipeg extended its lead again in the third frame.

"I thought they had a couple timely goals," Graves said. "I thought we had a really good first period, despite the score. We battled back again, good goal by Carl to get us going. We just couldn't get it together in the third. I think we're still going in the right direction, and the wins will come soon."

The Avalanche has a quick turnaround as it completes a back-to-back set on Wednesday against the Calgary Flames, the top team in the Western Conference.

"I think that type of effort and that sort of commitment 5-on-5 is a winning recipe on most nights," Bednar said. "Again, you got to limit a couple of those mistake. You can't hand good teams--Calgary, Winnipeg, doesn't matter who it is--you can't hand good teams goals."

LANDESKOG SETS CAREER HIGH: Gabriel Landeskog tallied twice against the Jets and now has a career-high 27 goals on the campaign.

Landeskog leads the club in markers and is tied with John Tavares of the Toronto Maple Leafs for third place overall in the NHL.

Video: COL@WPG: Landeskog nets PPG with nifty deflection

The Avalanche captain's first goal came on the power play, his ninth man-advantage tally of the season and also sets a new career best for him in the special-teams category. Landeskog's second goal was his 17th of the campaign to come in the third period, by far the most in the NHL for the final frame. Calgary's Johnny Gaudreau and the New York Rangers' Chris Krieder are the next closest players with 11 each in the last stanza.

Landeskog is one of 31 players that is part of the NHL's "Last Men In" fan vote for the 2019 NHL All-Star Game later this month.

GRAVES GOES BACK-TO-BACK: Rookie defenseman Ryan Graves scored his second career NHL goal as he tallied on a wraparound chance with 2:17 left in the second period.

Graves' second marker came one game after his first tally in the Avs' outing on Friday against the New York Rangers.

Graves made his NHL debut on Dec. 27 in Colorado's game at the Vegas Golden Knights. He had eight points (two goals and six assists) in 26 games with the Avs' American Hockey league affiliate, the Colorado Eagles, prior to his call-up on Dec. 26.

Video: COL@WPG: Graves sneaks in wraparound goal

CALVERT RETURNS HOME: Matt Calvert recorded an assist in his return to his home province.

His stretch pass with 3:50 left in the second period helped spring Carl Soderberg on a breakaway, one that the Swede finished to cut the Avs' deficit to 4-2 at the time.

Calvert now has three points (all assists) in 13 career games against the Jets. Calvert is from Brandon, Manitoba, the second-largest city in the province, located about two and a half hours west of Winnipeg.

MORE POSTGAME NOTES: Nathan MacKinnon finished with two assists for his 20th multi-point game of the season. MacKinnon ranks second in the NHL to only Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov (24) in multi-point contests in 2018-19.

MacKinnon also extended his point streak to seven outings and has totaled 10 points (four goals, six assists) over that stretch.

Tyson Barrie extended his point streak to five games and has notched eight points (one goal, seven assists) through that span, including five assists in his last two outings. Barrie also registered a season-high three hits.

Carl Soderberg picked up his fifth multi-point game of the season.

Sheldon Dries had four blocked shots, a season/career high.

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