1, 2, 3. Western Canadian Road Trip- December 6, December 8, December 9
The Avalanche had just finished a record NINE game homestand, with a record of 5-4. They won the last four games, and were looking to continue their winning ways. Game one, in Vancouver, was the game in which they played their best hockey on the roadtrip. They lost 6-0. In Calgary they lost 3-2, and in Edmonton they lost 4-1. Six possible points were up for grabs, and the Avs failed to earn a single one of them. Upon the return home, they were subjected to a lengthy bag skate.
4. December 16- San Jose
The Avalanche went into the Shark Tank and dominated during the first two periods. The Sharks were being booed out of their own building at the end of the second period, and the Avs had a solid, if not safe, 4-2 lead. They gave up three goals in the third period, losing in regulation, 5-4. This was just unacceptable.
5. January 7- St. Louis
This was the second game of a back to back sequence. Back to backs are always tough, but this game should not have gone down in this way. The night before, the Avs had dominated the Chicago Blackhawks. They were able to roll all four lines, and players were as rested as possible in such a scenario. They came out, and were severely outworked, losing the game 4-0.
6. January 12- Nashville
The Avs got off to a quick, two goal lead in Nashville, but then failed to sustain any pressure against the Predators for the rest of the game. They lost in OT (the single point a result entirely of Giguere’s fabulous play) 3-2.
7. January 24-Minnesota
In the final game before the All-Star Break, the Avalanche had an opportunity to move themselves into the top 8 in the Western conference. Instead, a lackluster performance all around lead to a 3-2 loss. I was at this game, and the crowd was loud. People were starting to get excited again, thinking that this Avalanche team might redeem the 2010-2011 epic skid. And yet, the Avs were unable to push themselves.
8. February 19-Winnipeg
The Winnipeg Jets were excellent at home this season. Fans were ecstatic to have a team back, and that made them LOUD. The Avs were playing an okay game, and came out of the first period tied at 0. In the next two periods, sloppy and distracted play lead to five Jets goals. Avs lose, 5-1.
9. March 1- Columbus
Columbus had the worst season of all 30 NHL teams this year. By February, they were playing loosely, knowing that they were not going to make the playoffs (even if they had yet to be eliminated mathematically). However, Varlamov was playing very well during this game. Foolish mistakes led to the Jackets scoring twice, and the Avs failed to put enough shots on Steve Mason.
10. March 26- San Jose
Both games in San Jose ended in disaster this season. This game was crucial for the Avs. It was late in the season, and they had five games to prove themselves a contender. Instead, they came into San Jose and quickly lost faith in themselves, allowing the Sharks to stomp all over them, 5-1.
Any games that you think I overlooked? Which losses stung the most to you?