The Colorado Avalanche seem to have an aversion to the third period, just maybe not in the way fans and onlookers have been griping about of late.
In what can be only technically described as a home game last Friday at Pepsi Center, the Avs surrendered a 2-1 third-period lead to the Pittsburgh Penguins and only managed to salvage a point by scoring with 31 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime — where Colorado would lose 4-3.
The good news is that through 24 games leading after the second period, Friday’s loss to the Penguins was the Avalanche’s only one this season.
The bad news, of the eight overtime games the Avs have played this season, four times have they entered the third period with a lead and three times they did so tied.
Breaking it down even further, when the third-period scoring’s good for Colorado, it’s really good, as they’ve netted an NHL-best 111 goals while leading after two periods. But the Avalanche have also given up the most goals against in the league while heading into the final period with a lead: 57.
Perhaps the most damning statistic, however, is while Colorado has given up only 48 goals while trailing after the second period — tied for the best in the NHL — they’ve only scored 21 times under the same circumstances — worst in the league.
What’s more, Colorado remains the only team in the NHL yet to mount a comeback victory while trailing after two periods, going 0-10-1, and has won just 50 percent of its games while entering the third period tied (5-4-1).
So, as we sit at just more than the halfway point of the NHL season, the problem doesn’t necessarily lie in that the Avs have blown four third-period leads but when they need a rally — or simply to break a tie — late in games, they’ve fallen flat. And that’s a recipe for an early-round exit from the postseason, should they reach it.
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