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Strong Effort Not Enough Against Canucks

Penalties hurt Colorado at Vancouver

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

VANCOUVER, British Columbia--A perfect game. That might be what it will take for the Colorado Avalanche to get a win right now.

It seems like nothing is going the Avs' way these days, as an overall solid 60-minute effort on Monday night against the Vancouver Canucks wasn't enough for the team to pick up two points, let alone one.

Did Colorado play a flawless outing at Rogers Arena? No, but the club survived any lulls in effort and had its chances to force overtime in the final moments in what ended up being a 3-2 loss.

"It was a tough one. I thought we matched them the whole game, and we had our chances," said Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie. "The penalty kill was good, and they just got a lucky bounce at the end that ended up in the back of our net. It's frustrating, but you got to kill those. You got to get that to overtime. It's been tough sledding. That's one that we needed."

Video: Barrie on Colorado's 3-2 loss

Barrie scored the tying goal for Colorado at 7:16 of the third period to knot the contest at 2-2, but Vancouver took advantage of a late power-play opportunity.

Sven Baertschi scored his second of the night on a bouncing puck off a rebound with 3:37 left to give the Canucks a lead they would hold until the final horn. The man-advantage goal came while the Avs were serving a delay of game infraction for shooting the puck over the glass.

"We played a good, solid hockey game except for eight to 10 plays," Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said. "A couple of them they didn't score on them, a couple of them were needless penalties for me, still a handful of turnovers, and it ends up costing us the hockey game. Some of the penalties we're taking, it's getting repetitive, but that's what's biting us every night."

The Avs went three for four on the penalty kill, but one of Vancouver's goals in the second period came after the home team hemmed Colorado in its own zone for the majority of the man-up chance. The Canucks then scored four seconds after the slashing penalty expired.

"We know what their special teams are like," Bednar said. "We can't afford to take penalties and for me, some of the ones we're taking are too costly and they're needless. Then some of our turnovers, too, some of the things that we talk about on a daily basis, we keep repeating the same mistakes and they keep costing us hockey games."

Colorado pushed hard after Baertschi's score, pulling goaltender Calvin Pickard for the final 1:32 of play but couldn't get the equalizer.

"I thought we were pretty solid but again, with 5-on-5 we were a good team tonight," said Nathan MacKinnon. "On special teams, we had a power-play goal but took way too many penalties, and that was the difference in the game.

Video: MacKinnon on special teams costing CO

The puck just doesn't seem to be bouncing in the Avs' favor. That kind of fate is something you can't really control. The only thing you can do as a player is put your head down and work harder.

"It's tough to carry that over, but it's got to be a fresh start," Barrie said. "We'll go practice in Calgary. You know, it's frustrating. We got to get that one to overtime tonight and then give ourselves a chance for two, but we can't do anything about it now. So just get on the plane, go to Calgary and get after it again."

Colorado closes its two-game Western Canadian swing on Wednesday against the Flames.

BARRIE STREAKING

Tyson Barrie tied his career-long point streak on Monday night with a goal against the Canucks. Barrie has now picked up at least a point in five straight games, matching his output from Jan. 25 to Feb. 3, 2014.

The defenseman had picked up assists in his previous four contests, setting a career high for consecutive outings with at least one helper.

Barrie had a strong December, as his nine points in the month were the most by an Avs defender since Rob Blake (nine) in 2005-06.

COLBORNE, GOLOUBEF RETURN TO LINEUP

Forward Joe Colborne returned to the Avalanche lineup after being a healthy scratch for the past two games. He began the contest on the fourth line with John Mitchell and Cody McLeod.

If Colborne suits up again on Wednesday, the Calgary, Alberta, native would be playing in his first game back in his hometown against a Flames team he spent the previous three years with. He signed with Colorado as a free agent last summer.

Defenseman Cody Goloubef was also back in game action on Monday night after being scratched for the past two contests.

Forward Andreas Martinsen and defensemen Eric Gelinas were the odd men out on Monday.

WIERCIOCH & BARRIE COME "HOME"

With the Colorado Avalanche only playing at Vancouver once this season, Monday's contest was the lone opportunity for local family and friends of British Columbia natives Tyson Barrie and Patrick Wiercioch to watch the players close to home.

Barrie is from the province's capital of Victoria, located on Vancouver Island, while Wiercioch grew up a little closer to Vancouver. He was born in Burnaby, roughly eight miles southeast of the downtown metropolis, and spent most of his childhood about 45 minutes east of the city in Maple Ridge.

The outing was only Wiercioch's second NHL game in Vancouver and his first at Rogers Arena. His only other visit came in the 2014 Heritage Classic at nearby BC Place as a member of the Ottawa Senators.

"It's special. Obviously, you came to this rink selling programs as a minor hockey team, trying to raise money," Wiercioch said of returning to southwest British Columbia after morning skate. "It's fun to come home, always a lot of excitement playing in front of your friends and family."

Monday contest marked Barrie's ninth at the home rink of the Canucks. His third-period goal was his eighth point in 16 career games against Vancouver.

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