The marker, Colorado’s first tally in a 5-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night, came in Wagner’s fifth game with the Avs after he joined the team in Toronto 10 days ago during the club’s season-long seven-game road trip.
While the first-period goal kept Colorado in its first home game in nearly three weeks, it carried more significance for the person who scored.
Wagner came down the far wall with the puck and fired a shot on goal. As he drove the net for the rebound, a clearing attempt put the puck in his skates. After that, all that was left was the roar of the crowd.
Wagner could hardly describe his first tally, even hours after it happened.
“From what I remember, I just shot the puck [and] kind of went to the net,” Wagner recalled. “Their guy kind of threw it off me. It landed at my feet and I had an empty net there. Was kind of in shock for a bit, but it’s nice to score.
“[It’s] the best league in the world, [to] score in it is a blessing. But obviously, you want to get the win there.”
The result wasn’t what Wagner and the rest of the Avalanche desired, but his tally was evidence of a strong night for the 24-year-old, who finished the game with four shots, two hits and 6:43 of ice time while playing on the fourth line.
Wagner’s early score also proved valuable to Colorado in the third period, when the home team countered the Senators with 41 shot attempts—one less than in the first two periods combined—and two goals to push a comeback effort that just fell short.
“We wanted to show we’re a team with pride and there was no way we were going to give up,” Roy said of the strong play in the final stanza. “Obviously, I used the game against Minny [as motivation], and I thought our guys responded. We had a lot of chances, and unfortunately for us we just couldn’t score the goal that would bring that game into overtime.
“I was happy to see that we didn’t quit… I won’t say the word proud, but happy about that.”
The Avalanche held Ottawa to just four shots on net in the last 20 minutes of play, surging in an attempt to undue a three-goal deficit.
“We had a pretty good third, I thought. Couple big goals,” center Nathan MacKinnon said. “We need to get another one though, obviously. I don’t know how much we played in the third, but it felt like we played the whole time. We’ve got to score three, I think, to tie it. At the end there, we were close but it’s just the way it goes, I guess.”
MacKinnon’s line, consisting of Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene on the wings, played over half of the third period and registered two goals in return for their hard work.
“You get one, I’m sure Ottawa got a little tight. Got the second one to make it a one-goal game. I’m sure it’s definitely tough,” MacKinnon said. “We’ve been on that end of the stick before with leads and stuff, but like I said, we need to close it out or tie it up I guess, somehow. It’s nice that we came back and had a good third, but we were down by three going into the third. So we should be desperate and we should have dominated.
“There’s no moral victories. You know we need points, and this was a good opportunity to get them and we didn’t show up.”
In the end, it was opposing netminder Craig Anderson that proved to be the difference.
“That’s the NHL, you know. Full of good goaltenders,” MacKinnon said. “Definitely feels like a goalies league right now, for sure.”
“We had our chances. He made some good saves,” Roy added. “I thought our guys fought hard at the end.”
NO BONES ABOUT IT
David Boreanaz, self-proclaimed hockey fanatic and lead actor in the long-running TV show Bones, made an appearance at Pepsi Center on Wednesday. The thespian was in town to take his son to a hockey tournament and the Boreanaz family decided to take in an Avs game while spending the Thanksgiving holiday in the Mile High City.
He was an active participant in the night’s events, tweeting the team, dancing on the video board during a stoppage in play and was a featured guest for in-game host Conor McGahey’s intermission report, Avs Live.
Boreanaz, a fan of former Avalanche legend and 20th Anniversary Team member Peter Forsberg, received a team-signed sweater during the first intermission.