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Postgame Wrap-Up: Downed in Canada's Capital

The Avalanche wraps up season-long road trip with loss to Senators

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

OTTAWA, Ontario--It came down to determination for head coach Jared Bednar in the Colorado Avalanche's contest at the Ottawa Senators. Ottawa had it. Colorado did not.

"Effort isn't there at the start of the game, for whatever reason. There is nothing else to it," said Bednar. "You can't look past it. That is a prerequisite for everything else."

The Avs were down by three goals midway through the second period on Wednesday night at Canadian Tire Centre and ultimately fell 5-2 to the Senators to close out a season-long, five-game road trip.

"I feel like we got outworked the first half of the game. We came not ready to play," said Colorado defenseman Nikita Zadorov. "I feel like we gave up too many scoring chances in the first period. Start of the second period, we give up three goals right away, it's too much in this league. It's hard to come back from a three-goal deficit. It's all on us."

Ottawa had a 13-8 edge in shots in the opening frame before Colorado created more chances at the end of the middle period. The Avs outshot the Sens 12-8 in the second and finished with a 32-30 lead in shots on goal. They wrapped up the night with a 69-48 advantage in total shots attempted.

Video: Avs coach Jared Bednar's postgame media scrum

The game was still at 0-0 at the first intermission thanks to the play of goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who stopped several quality scoring chances of the Senators to keep the score tied.

"He was great today. He was great two nights in a row, he gave us a chance to stay in the game," Zadorov said of his netminder. "First period, he was unbelievable, made a couple big stops for us. That is what we're looking for from him."

Colorado has come back from three-goal deficits before this season, but this one was ultimately too much with too little time left after Zadorov tallied the club's first goal with 1:07 remaining in the second period.

The Avalanche ended its road trip to five Canadian cities with a 1-4-0 record; its victory coming on Monday at the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"Believe me, this isn't something we do for three hours a day. This is something we talk about constantly, and we're trying to figure out solutions to this," said Gabriel Landeskog. "The other night, we played a great team game in Toronto, and we weren't able to follow it up tonight, which is disappointing."

Despite the record, the Avs did a lot of good things on the cross-Canada trek and probably deserved a better fate in some of those games. However, some mistakes, bad luck and lack of focus proved costly in those losses, including the one in the nation's capital.

"Disappointing road trip because I thought we started it playing some good hockey and didn't get rewarded. Didn't like our game in Montreal. Really liked it in Toronto. Not ready to play tonight," Bednar said. "It's a way below average road trip. Didn't get the results that we wanted. Play was below average. Can't take nights off. The league is too good."

MIKKO MARKS: Mikko Rantanen had helpers on both of Colorado's goals and is tied for second in the league with 71 points on the campaign, registering 21 goals and 50 assists.

Rantanen has now recorded back-to-back seasons of at least 70 points after posting a career-high 84 last year. He is the sixth player in Avs history with multiple seasons of 70 or points, joining Joe Sakic (nine), Peter Forsberg (six), Milan Hejduk (five), Alex Tanguay (three) and Paul Stastny (three).

The Finnish forward is also the fastest player to reach the 70-point plateau since the club moved to Colorado, doing so in 47 games. Joe Sakic is the only other skater to accomplish the feat in fewer than 50 contests, as he recorded 27 goals and 43 assists in 49 outings in 2000-01.

In addition, Rantanen became the third different player in franchise history to register at least 50 assists in 50 or fewer team games, joining Peter Stastny and Peter Forsberg. Stastny reached the feat three times (1981-82, 46 games; 1983-84, 47 games; 1985-86, 50 games) and Forsberg did it in 47 games in 1995-96.

PERFECT PK: The Senators struck out three times with the man advantage against the Avs.

Colorado went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill, marking the third-straight game that it hasn't allowed a goal while shorthanded. It is the second time this season that the Avalanche has gone three consecutive contests without giving up a power-play goal (also Dec. 21-29, 2018).

The team now has an 80-percent (80-for-100) success rate on the penalty kill while on the road this year, ranked tied for 12th in the NHL.

MORE NOTES: Nathan MacKinnon recorded a goal and an assist and is now tied for eighth in the NHL with 27 goals on the season. He is fifth overall with 68 points.

Colorado finished 1-for-3 on the power play and is now 44-for-175 (25.1 percent) this season, the sixth-ranked power play in the league. On the road, the Avs are 25-for-94 (26.6 percent), which is the third-ranked man advantage unit as the visiting team.

Carl Soderberg matched a career high with four hits (11th time, last accomplished on Oct. 16 at New York Rangers).

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