CALGARY, Alberta--It was a night of mixed emotions for the Colorado Avalanche and two of the team's rookies.
Sheldon Dries and Vladislav Kamenev each scored their first career National Hockey League goals Thursday, but the Avs lost 6-5 after the Calgary Flames staged a comeback at Scotiabank Saddledome.
"You scored a goal and you want to enjoy it, but at the end of the day you're still playing a game, have a job to do," Dries said. "It's not the result we wanted, obviously. Lesson learned and bounce back tomorrow."
The forwards both scored in a matter of 1:50 early in the second period to jumpstart the Avalanche's offense, which scored four times in the frame. It's the first time in franchise history that two players scored their first NHL goal in the same game since Peter Forsberg and Adam Deadmarsh accomplished the feat with the Quebec Nordiques on Jan. 27, 1995 at the Buffalo Sabres.
Kamenev's marker at 3:22 came while the team was shorthanded and with 11 seconds remaining on the penalty kill. Taking advantage of an errant pass by a Calgary player, the Orsk, Russia, native fired a slap shot from the left circle and unleashed a fist pump in the air after the puck beat Calgary goaltender Mike Smith. Erik Johnson picked up the loose puck during the celebration for Kamenev to keep as a memento of the accomplishment.
"It was on the PK and the end of my shift," Kamenev said. "I just tried to shoot it on net. Got lucky, found a hole."
It was Kamenev's second career point after he recorded an assist in Colorado's previous game last Saturday at the Minnesota Wild.
Acquired nearly a year ago--on Nov. 5, 2017--from the Nashville Predators in a three-team trade that also included the Ottawa Senators, Kamenev was playing in his 13th career NHL contest and eighth of the season for the Avalanche.
It seemed like it was just a matter of time before the Russian forward would find twine after having success at the minor league level. He recorded 39 goals and 105 points in 146 American Hockey League games split between the Milwaukee Admirals, San Antonio Rampage and Colorado Eagles.
"It was really important for me to get that feeling when you score a goal," Kamenev said. "Now I feel like I can make a play better."
Dries' tally might not have been as pretty as Kamenev's, but it counted all the same. The forward redirected the puck off a Tyson Barrie shot that then rebounded off Smith and the skate of Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson before settling across the goal line.
"I saw [Barrie] coming down. Just tried to take the goalie's eyes away," Dries said. "Got a stick on it, good bounce, and it ended up in the back of the net. I'll take it anyway I can."
Dries then got a shower when he came to the bench to celebrate as a bottle's worth of water was tossed in his face, a tradition the Avs have after big goals are scored.
It was also Dries' first-ever point, and it wasn't his last of the evening. The Western Michigan graduate added his second point later in the period with the primary assist on Colin Wilson's tally during a breakout rush.
Dries was playing in his fifth career NHL contest. He joined the team for the Western Canada road trip after being recalled from the AHL Eagles on Tuesday afternoon.
"Any time you get called up, it's a good feeling," Dries said. "Now you just want to earn more ice time each day and take it day by day."
FRIDAY IN VANCOUVER: The Avalanche concludes its second back-to-back of the season on Friday at the Vancouver Canucks and is aiming to head back to Denver on a high note.
"That's the beauty of hockey. We got to forget about it. We got to learn from it and move on," said Avs defenseman Mark Barberio. "Vancouver is playing well, so we got to salvage this quick, two-game road trip."
Colorado will play 11 sets of consecutive-night contests this season, with this stretch in Western Canada being the club's second. The Avs are in a stint in the schedule where they will play four back-to-backs in a 34-day period.
Goaltender Philipp Grubauer will start in goal for the Avalanche versus the Canucks.
MIKKO FIRST STAR: Mikko Rantanen was named the NHL First Star for the month of October prior to the game on Thursday.
The Avs right wing led the league in scoring and assists in the first month of the season, registering 21 points and 16 helpers.
He is the first Colorado player to lead the NHL in points through the end of October since Joe Sakic accomplished the feat in 1996-97. His 16 assists were the most by an Avalanche player in a single month since 2002-03 when Peter Forsberg did it in three such months.
LINEUP NOTES: A.J. Greer and Patrik Nemeth were the Avs' scratched players against the Flames.
Dries centered a line with Gabriel Bourque and Marko Dano, while Kamenev was the pivot between Alexander Kerfoot and Colin Wilson.
MORE NOTES: The Avalanche's four goals in the second period matches a season high for goals in a single frame (Oct. 26 vs. Ottawa, 3rd).
With an assist tonight, Tyson Barrie now has recorded 15 points (two goals, 13 assists) in 20 career contests against Calgary.
Colin Wilson and Alexander Kerfoot notched their second multi-point games of the season.
Erik Johnson played a season-high 25:03.
Colorado scored its first short-handed goal of the season on Kamenev's tally.