The Colorado Avalanche put together a solid effort and earned a point in the standings, but a lack of execution on some of its offensive chances prevented a victory for the club.
In a back-and-forth contest, the Avs tied the game with 31 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime but fell 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Pepsi Center on Friday.
"There were areas of our game tonight that were great, but that is a really good hockey team," said Colorado head coach Jared Bednar. "It was a really good hockey game. I have no problem with the way we played or the effort we played with. There will be some guys that I will watch that game and say, 'hey we got some guys that got to be better, they got to give us a little bit more.'"
While goaltender Pavel Francouz was pulled for an extra attacker, Cale Makar sent the puck towards the net as the clock was winding down in the third period and Matt Calvert was able to deflect it in the net to knot the contest at 3-3.
Video: PIT@COL: Calvert deflects Makar shot to tie the game
Makar's helper on the tally was his 24th of the season, tying the first-year defenseman with John-Michael Liles for the second-most assists by a rookie blueliner in franchise history (Bruce Bell, 31 in 1984-85).
"I think it's great for us that we were able to bounce back and tie it with the empty net," said Francouz. "It's a good point, but I think we deserved two points today.
"I think we played pretty good defensively today. Both teams did, I think it was even game, and it was good that it went to overtime. We were just unlucky that we didn't win in OT."
Colorado created an opportunity in overtime when Andre Burakovsky and Makar rushed up the ice without any Pittsburgh skaters between them and goalie Matt Murray, but they weren't able to get a shot on net.
"We have a 2-on-1 turns into a 2-on-0, and I'd like to see us get something to the net and make their goalie make a save. Am I frustrated? No. I think you got to do something right to create a couple chances," said Bednar. "We had a couple chances and probably more dangerous than the one they scored on."
Video: Coach Jared Bednar after OT loss to Penguines
The contest concluded the season series between Colorado and Pittsburgh and the Avs finished 0-0-2 in the set.
"Whenever the other team scores its either because they make a great play or you miss something in coverage. It is happening every night to every team, we are not the only team getting scored on when there's a breakdown," said Bednar. "Would I like to limit those breakdowns? Yeah. Did I think we did that tonight? Yeah.
"We competed hard. We are doing the right things, and we are a step late here or there. I think what can help solve some of those issues is talk. Talk. We've talked about it for four years, talk. The D says I got him, our forward can lay off it, there is no open man. Seems simple, but it's not easy. Still, we have to be better at talking and communicating on the ice. That solves a lot of problems, eliminates confusion, guys aren't guessing."
DOUBLE CENTURY MARK
The contest was Samuel Girard's 200th in the NHL, and he recorded two assists to set a new career high with 24 helpers this season. He now has nine assists since Jan. 1, the most among all players in the league during that span.
The Roberval, Quebec, native also has 11 assists in his last six outings, registering four multi-point games during that stretch. In his career, Girard had notched 75 points (nine goals, 66 assists).
Girard has appeared in 195 consecutive regular-season games, the longest active ironman streak on the team.
Video: PIT@COL: MacKinnon blasts one-timer into the twine
HOMESTAND CONTINUES TUESDAY
Colorado will continue its five-game homestay on Tuesday in a Division Rivalry matchup with the Dallas Stars. It is the fourth and final meeting of the season between the foes.
The homestand also features visits from the San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings.
The Avalanche has scored a power-play goal in each of its last three home games, going 6-for-12 (50 percent) in that span.
Nathan MacKinnon finished with a team-high six shots on goal. He now has 210 this season, tied with the Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin for the league lead. MacKinnon's first-period goal was his 27th marker of the season, tied for third in the league (Buffalo's Jack Eichel). His 66 points rank third in the NHL (Edmonton's Connor McDavid, 70, and Leon Draisaitl, 69).
Gabriel Landeskog (one goal, one assist) recorded his fourth multi-point game of the season (last: Dec. 18 at Chicago).