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Special Teams The Difference Against Nashville

Toninato made NHL debut; Mironov scored first NHL goal

by Callie Parmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche had plenty of opportunities against the Nashville Predators but wasn't able to find a way to capitalize.

The Avalanche had seven power-play chances in its contests against the Predators on Saturday but fell 5-2 as it could not find a way to score with the man advantage.

Center Dominic Toninato made his NHL debut in the contest for the Avs and took a hit to the head along the half wall after being boarded by Austin Watson. He immediately went to the dressing room in just his third shift in the NHL, but he ended up being okay and was back on the bench for the start of the second period.

"I just got hit," Toninato said after the contest. "Hit the boards with my face. So, obviously I was a little nervous, but came back and we are good."

He joined the Avalanche in Nashville after being recalled by Colorado on Friday after fellow rookie Vladislav Kamenev broke his arm in the contest against the Washington Capitals on Thursday. It was Kamenev's first contest with the Avalanche in just his third NHL game.

The hit resulted in a five-minute major penalty for boarding and Watson was assessed a game misconduct. Subsequently, the Avs found themselves on the power play for the fourth time in the first 12 minutes of the contest.

Colorado didn't take advantage of its chances in the first period and went scoreless after 11 minutes worth of man advantages in the first frame.

"We had a couple of grade-A scoring chances on the power play," said forward Gabriel Landeskog. "I got one in the slot, but we just got to be better on the power play. I mean we know we have been pretty solid. I don't know what our percentage has been the last 10 games on the power play, but tonight we had chances and sometimes special teams just isn't clicking or there is a goalie on the other side trying to make the saves. Tonight he was."

Going into the contest, Colorado had gone 15 for 69 (21.7 percent) on the power play this season, the ninth best in the NHL. The Avalanche had seven chances with the man advantage against Nashville but could not find the back of the net.

"Early in the game, first couple power plays there, we had a couple decent looks at the net," Avs head coach Jared Bednar said after the game. "The one thing we didn't do was we didn't get in front of [Pekka] Rinne for the screen. So, he was seeing them. We had a couple of dangerous chances, Landy put one off the shoulder from the middle of the ice, actually two.

"He made some nice saves and then the entries and we were a little bit stubborn on our breakouts and entries going into that five-minute power play. We just didn't execute."

At the end of the first, Alexander Kerfoot took a tripping penalty and the Predators found the back of the net one minute into their first power play.

"The turning point for me is we probably make a mistake, or we do make a mistake on the penalty kill at the end of the first period and they get that one," Bednar said. "So, we end up going 0-for-3 with 11 minutes of power-play time and frustration is setting in a little bit. Then they come right back and score on their first chance on the power play. And that ended up being the turning point."

Nashville scored five straight goals, picking up two power-play tallies in four chances.

Despite the score, the Avalanche remained competitive throughout the contest.

"I thought our compete level was there," said Landeskog. "I thought guys were making plays and working extremely hard, so I think really the difference is the start and the power plays that we just weren't able to capitalize on."

Colorado outshot the Predators 31-24 in the contest and had a 13-5 advantage in the category during the third frame.

Defenseman Andrei Mironov helped the Avalanche avoid being shutout by scoring his first NHL goal with five minutes left in the game and J.T. Compher made the score 5-2 shortly after.

"You got to like the guys not giving up," Toninato said after the game. "Obviously, we were down five there late, and guys stuck with it and we got a couple. Hopefully, we can use that to our advantage moving forward."

Toninato centered a line with Sven Andrighetto and Nail Yakupov in his first NHL outing and logged 10:20 of ice time.

"I thought [our chemistry] got better throughout the whole game," he said of his linemates. "We started off good right away. I don't know, it was just clicking right off the hop."

Colorado captain Landeskog has not seen much of the rookie but was pleased with what he saw during the game.  

"I thought he was solid," said Colorado captain Landeskog. "I thought he was solid right from the get go. Just a big, strong centerman that you know what you are going to get out of him and I liked what I saw from him today."

Toninato has only played in one NHL game, and he is already chomping at the bit for the next one.

"It was nice to get that first one out of the way," he said. "Obviously, it wasn't the result we wanted, but we got another one tomorrow and hopefully we can bounce back."

Colorado will face the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday to complete its fifth back-to-back set of the season.

KERFOOTS MULTI-POINT EFFORT

Rookie forward Alexander Kerfoot registered two assists in the loss, his fifth multi-point game of the campaign.

In his last six outings, Kerfoot has found the scoresheet more than once in a contest four times, totaling nine points (four goals, five assists) since Nov. 4.  

He had a three-game goal streak and four-game point streak snapped when he did not register a point on Thursday in the team's 6-2 win over the Washington Capitals.

The Harvard graduate is second on the Avalanche with seven goals and is ranked third with 15 points.

BARRIE BACK IN

Tyson Barrie returned to the lineup after missing the Avs last contest against the Washington Capitals on Thursday with an upper-body injury.

"I feel good. It was just that something was nagging me," Barrie said. "Took the time off, and I feel 100 percent now."

He is ranked second on the team in assists with 12 and is tied for fourth in team scoring with 14 points. Barrie was on the ice for over 20 minutes on Saturday and registered three shots on goal in the loss.

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