A few wobbles aside, the Avalanche is a destructive force of nature in third periods this season

NASHVILLE — The Colorado Avalanche are the kings of the NHL in the third period so far this season.

That feels like a very weird sentence to digest, given the two embarrassing losses to Vegas and St. Louis, the latter of which included coach Jared Bednar calling his club’s third period against the Blues the worst he’s seen among the 500-plus in his tenure.

But it is irrefutably correct, as of Sunday morning. After decimating Dallas in the third period Saturday night during a 6-3 comeback win, Colorado led the league in total third-period goals with 28 and on a per-game basis at 1.75. Only three clubs had allowed fewer than the 13 goals the Avs have yielded in the final period.

Colorado has a plus-15 goal differential in the third — no other team is better than plus-9.

“Maybe we feel a little guilty for coming out slow, you know?” Avs forward Fredrik Olofsson said. “We talk about wanting to come out with a good start, but we stuck with it. Maybe it’s a lesson for everyone to try and play that way earlier to get to a full 60-minute game. It’s a credit to the team. I think we’ve learned from some of those games where we let some frustration get the best of us.

“I think we’re getting the hang of it. It’s just stay patient, stay together and we’re never out of it. Not with this group.”

Olofsson is right about the slow starts. The Avs have scored 11 times in the first period, which is better than only three teams. But this Colorado team has consistently found a gear in the final 20 minutes that no other club in the league can match … except for those two blowout losses, of course.

Take away the blowout losses to Vegas and St. Louis and the Avs’ third-period advantage is almost comical — 27 goals for, six against. No other team has scored more than once in the period.

The game in Dallas was significant because of how Colorado won: It was the first multi-goal comeback of the season. The Avs roared back from a 3-0 hole with six straight tallies, including four in the third.

“I think it is just the mentality of the team and what we expect from each other,” forward Mikko Rantanen said. “(Dallas) is a good team, but we were outplaying them. We just have to use our legs and play together. That’s exactly what we did.”

Earning a comeback win was clearly a big deal to the team. Both Andrew Cogliano and Bednar called it the biggest win of the season. Given how the Avs have turtled a couple of times after getting down by several goals, just climbing back into that contest, let alone winning it, was a success.

That said, the real value in the club’s final-period dominance so far has come in the other game state — when the Avalanche is protecting a lead. The Avs are 11-5-0, and they have not lost a game in which they held …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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