Avalanche suffer 3-2 loss at home despite holding Arizona to 14 shots

Colorado once again trailed by two goals early and clawed back to tie the game before falling 3-2 to the Arizona Coyotes in regulation despite putting together a better effort than the first two games of its homestand. . . Im not disappointed in the effort. Im disappointed in the result, Avs coach Jared Bednar said. Were not looking for moral victories. . . The Avalanche 13-8-2 outshot the Coyotes 35-14 and did not give up a shot for 19. 27. The only problem was, that redirection from Arizonas Johan Larsson beat Avs netminder Philipp Grubauer and stood as the game-winner at 4. 06 of the third period. . . Colorado also held the Coyotes to 18 shots on Feb. 26. . . The Avalanche had goals from forwards Valeri Nichushkin and Andre Burakovsky in that stretch where Arizona failed to produce a shot to erase another 2-0 deficit for the third consecutive game. They seemingly had complete control of the game heading into a crucial third period. . . And to make matters worse for the Coyotes, starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper left the game with an injury two minutes into the final frame. His backup, Antti Raanta, was suddenly called upon to keep the Avs at bay. And that he did. . . Raanta faced more shots in 17 minutes 16 than Grubauer did the entire evening 14 and stopped them all. . . Were a good hockey team and we got to find a way to win and we didnt find a way to win tonight, Bednar said. It seems like right now were making every goalie that we play look like an all-star. . . Colorado struggled on the penalty kill once again. After allowing power-play goals on the Anaheim Ducks two opportunities Saturday, the Avs surrendered another power-play marker early in the first period. . . The only penalty they killed against Arizona lasted 16 seconds. . . Nichushkins tally extended his point streak to three games three goals, one assist. In the midst of Colorados struggles, the winger has elevated his game and its been noticed by the Avs. Bednar played Nichushkin on the top line with winger-turned-center Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog. . . Burakovskys goal was his first in six games. His last goal came against the Coyotes on Feb. 26. Burakovsky has consistently played on a line with center Nazem Kadri and winger Brandon Saad during the Avalanches homestand. The trio combined for 12 shots. . . The Avs long injury list grew once again before this game. Defenseman Conor Timmins upper-body was replaced by Greg Pateryn, who was called up from the American Hockey League to join an already injury-riddled defensive unit. Colorado is still without blueliners Cale Makar and Bowen Byram as well as forward J. T. Compher. Defenseman Erik Johnson and goaltender Pavel Francouz remain out long term. . . But all-star center Nathan MacKinnon is likely returning soon. . . Thats the only guy that Im convinced were getting back anytime soon, Bednar said. Thats a big piece.

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