Okay, award for worst Avalanche blogger this week goes to me. I’m terribly sorry if you’ve checked in during the past five days, only to find things static. I’m back, and ready to blog (at least every other day) for the foreseeable future during this long offseason.
I’m still on a total high from today’s game. Yes, the Avs are out realistically out of the playoffs. It doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a few good games before the season.
The Colorado Avalanche won their first game in over a week, beating the Anaheim Ducks. I can’t tell you how relieved I am to be writing about a win!
Holy mother of hockey baby. The Avs are just killing me. The epidemic of first periods continued tonight, when the Avs allowed two goals and shot the puck only twice on net. The team did manage to keep the score tied at zero for the first eight minutes (that’s the first time that’s happened in the past five or so games). Then, the penalty kill had a little breakdown, and the puck trickled behind Varlamov. If there’s someone out there who can explain how a team can fail to play competent hockey in the first period 25 games out of 32 (did I mention these are professionals?), your advice would be greatly appreciated by anyone who is still able to watch this team.
The team sort of woke up in the second period, with a goal by Jamie McGinn off P.A. Parenteau’s rebound. Then, 12 seconds later, they allowed a goal, and Calgary retained their two goal lead. Gabriel Landeskog scored another goal for the Avs off a bizarre shot from the goal line. The Flames would score again though. In the third, the Avs had a good effort, but they were only able to score one goal, during a five on three opportunity, from Ryan O’Reilly. Once again, the Avs found themselves behind, and once again, they were unable to win a game of “catch-up hockey.”
Tomorrow night the Avs are back at it against Vancouver. It might be kinda, sorta nice, if the Avs could get a win. I don’t care how they get it (even if it’s after a 30 round shootout), they just need to get it.
-Matt Duchene won 24 faceoffs tonight, a new personal record for faceoffs won in a single game.
-Erik Johnson took a heavy hit from Blake Comeau in the first, and from there on out he just looked dazed. His skating wasn’t smooth anymore, and he just seemed to be making things harder on himself.
-Greg Zanon had the best game of his Avalanche career tonight. He was hitting people at the right time, making some nice plays… kudos Zanon.
After the first period, it looked like the Avs were headed for the same fate they’ve earned the last four games. Down by two goals, after a pretty lifeless first period, things looked bleak. Luckily, the team was able to push through any panic or frustration they might have been experiencing.
Mark Olver ended Lehtonen’s shutout bid a few minutes into the second. Olver scored from midair, as he was falling towards the ice. Later in the second, Ryan O’Reilly and John Mitchell started a nice rush during the pk, which eventually led to Gabriel Landeskog’s shorthanded goal (his second shorty in two games). The team then had a major lapse in concentration, a few moments of wild confusion, and the Stars were leading again. The third period started out very tight. Both teams were fighting for ice. Things started to loosen up around the ten minute mark, and Ryan O’Reilly soon capitalized, scoring on a sweet shortsided shot as he was being pushed off balance. With three minutes left, Chuck Kobasew took advantage of a strange bounce (the puck hit Dallas defensemen Robidas’ ear, and then bounced behind him right in front of the net), and scored his fourth goal of the year. The Avs were able to hold on for the final three minutes, and earn the win in regulation.
This was by no means the Avs best game, but it wasn’t their worst either. I think after the first period, they played really well, despite the fact the Stars had a LOT of time with the man advantage. It’s still going to be a long shot for the team to make the playoffs, but it’d be nice if this win could help them start a nice little winning streak.
-Jan Hejda had a fight, only the second of his career.
-The Avs killed off six penalties.
-Jamie McGinn, David Jones, and Shane O’Brien were the scratches tonight.
-The lines were super bizarre, but they didn’t stay the way they started. By the third period, Sacco just seemed to be throwing out whoever was rolling.
-The Avs actually outshot the Stars (34-32). It’s nice to see the SA stay under 35.
-Chuck Kobasew was right by the net for all four goals.
-Stefan Elliott played his first game since being recalled, with Ryan Wilson being placed on IR.
Yesterday I said that the Avs would score either 3 or 6 goals, and Minnesota would score 4. I was right about the score being 4-6, however I was wrong about which team had which number. Minnesota decided to go for the 6 goals. It’s just embarrassing at this point.
Jean-Sebastian Giguere started the game, and he did not “calm things down”. I know that the Avs allowed a lot of shots, but all four of the goals Giguere allowed were awful. For some reason, Joe Sacco refuses to pull a goalie until the intermission. He only called his timeout after the Wild scored their third goal. The timeout worked temporarily, when John Mitchell scored his 9th of the season, but then Giguere allowed the fourth.
In the second period, the Avs scored two quick goals with Semyon Varlamov in net. Minnesota called their timeout, and soon after scored against Varlamov. Those would be the only three goals in the period. In the third, Minnesota scored their sixth goal of the game on a semi-breakaway. Chuck Kobasew would get a goal with less than two minutes remaining in the period, but they were unable to put another couple in the net with the goalie pulled.
I had an uneasy feeling as the team was set to start this home and home series, that if the Avs didn’t earn at least three points, their chances were gone for the playoffs. At this point, they’d need to go 16-5, or 15-3-2, or 14-1-4 to get to 56 points, which would probably get them into the playoffs. I expect them to try for at least one of those records, but at this point, as a fan, I think things look pretty bleak.
-Joe Sacco ABSOLUTELY should have pulled Giguere after the second goal in six minutes. This isn’t some “oh we’re five games in the season, let’s let him redeem himself” situation, or a “we’re sitting comfortably in the playoff picture, let him have a chance to redeem himself” situation. This is a “we need to win this f*&^ing game, and you only get playing time if you’re helping” situation. When he didn’t pull Giguere, it sent a message to me that said “we’re still okay if we lose this game”.
-Giguere was awful, and Varly was just okay. It’s just not fair to them though, how many shots they’ve faced.
-Ryan Wilson missed this game with an ankle injury…sounds like he reinjured himself.
-Milan Hejduk also missed this game, but there was no word on a possible injury.
-Matt Duchene and P.A. Parenteau are third and fourth in the Western Conference in points (Duchene at 30 points is just behind Patrick Kane/Ryan Getzlaf with 31.)
-Aaron Palushaj had a really good game-keep him in the lineup. I want Olver in too, he’s a sparkplug too.
-Mitchell, Parenteau, Landeskog, and Kobasew had the Avs goals.
The Avs will remain in 15th place in the Western Conference, for another couple days at least. The Minnesota Wild continue to have the Avs number, as they earned their second win over the vs this season, and fifth point.
Minnesota scored first. Matt Hunwick lost the puck to his mark, Paul Stastny failed to pick up his man, and Varlamov let in the shot. I would have liked to see Varls have that one, but if the players in front of him had been better, he wouldn’t have even faced a shot. Late in the first, on a power play, P.A. Parenteau scored with a kind of bizarre shot. In the second, Minnesota scored three quick goals, in the middle of the period, with an Avs goal in the mix from Gabriel Landeskog. More defensive errors led to Minnesota’s goals, and Varlamov just wasn’t able to make that one key save. Parenteau picked up his second goal of the game halfway through the third, but the final goal was an empty netter for the Wild.
The Avs have 22 games left this season. They need 32 more points by my estimation in order to get into the playoffs. 14-4-4 is the worst record they can have to earn that number of points in that number of games. It’s a tall order, and it’s not going to happen if the team keeps winning two and then losing three. The Colorado Avalanche need to put their big boy pants on, suck it up, and get wins. Varlamov hasn’t been his best self the past couple of games, and he needs to pick it up and play to his capabilities. The team needs more dirty goals, more players going to the net, and they need to backcheck as if there’s no tomorrow. If the team didn’t play so poorly in their own zone, they wouldn’t find themselves chasing so much.
-Greg Zanon may have had an assist, but he played poorly. Why did we switch him out with O’Byrne? Oh, because O’Byrne’s been taking bad penalties. What did Zanon do tonight? Take two bad penalties, and fall on his butt because he’s a poor skater.
-Erik Johnson had a really good game.
-Ryan O’Reilly and Gabriel Landeskog found themselves back together late in the game, and I imagine that we’ll see them together again next game.
-Chuck Kobasew and Cody McLeod each got into a fight.
The Avs were booed off the ice tonight, and rightfully so. (I’m not a fan of booing in general, and I don’t like booing my own team, but when they lose 4-0 at home after a paltry effort like tonight’s, they deserve it.) As a team, they played well for the first five minutes, and after that they seemed to take turns sleeping, leaving only one or two awake players to man the ship. It was disappointing, and it was ridiculous. I don’t understand how they can go out, have four stellar efforts in a row, and then come out totally flat in their own building. I know that the Pepsi Center wasn’t very full, especially in the beginning, but that is no excuse. Fans are fickle, and 12th place isn’t going to fill the barn. There are plenty of us out here, but lets be honest: every sporting event gets filled when it can draw those bizarre creatures who have loud voices, a loose idea of the rules, and money to spare.
Honestly, a proper recap is too painful to write; if you didn’t see the game, consider yourself lucky (unless you’re an Oilers fan). Suffice to say, Edmonton scored four goals, including one on the power play.
-Varlamov didn’t play well tonight, and if you read this blog, you know that I’m a huge Varls fan girl, so you know I don’t say something like that lightly.
-The Avs did score one goal, but it was taken away due to a crease violation from Aaron Palushaj.
-Ryan Wilson, David Jones, and Gabriel Landeskog each had particularly rough games, but it’s not as though anyone had a good night.
-Officiating was bad too.
Back at it Thursday. I hope they come put with a much better effort.
Oh god. The Avs were 49 seconds away from a point at least. Suddenly, the Hawks were swarming the net, and Daniel Carcillo put the puck between Shane O’Brien and Semyon Varlamov’s legs. That’s right, Carcillo prevented the Avs from getting a point. The Avs remain stuck at 20 points. They have another crack at THE STREAK on Friday. As disappointing as this loss was, it’s hard to be mad at the Avs. They played an awesome game. There were a few mistakes, but there are always going to be mistakes. I think everyone worked really hard, and that makes it even harder to criticize the team.
In the first period, the Avs had a ton of opportunities. Unfortunately, the Hawks struck first on a powerplay. Cody McLeod took an ill-advised penalty (albeit, one that you expect him to take). The killers failed to get the puck out of the zone three different times, and eventually Andrew Shaw tipped the puck past Varlamov. Late in the period, John Mitchell got a little bit of redemption when he scored with a couple of nifty moves close to the net. In the second period, the Avs took the lead on a nice Matt Duchene shot that banked in off of Emery. Early in the third period, the Avs powerplay allowed a shorthanded Jonathan Toews goal. (I didn’t like how O’Reilly played it, and the referees missed a blatant slash from Bolland that left Jamie McGinn stickless and helpless when Toews was at the net.) The Avs continued to have some good chances, but it was Carcillo who scored the next, final goal.
I was really pleased with the Avs tonight, and I’m hoping that they bring a similar effort at home. If they do so, I think they have to get a break, and finally earn a win with their third stellar game of the season.
-Ryan O’Reilly got too much icetime for my liking. He’s adjusting, and playing better, but he’s still making more mistakes then we’re used to seeing from Factor.
-Jamie McGinn was really close to getting a goal several times in this game, if he had been able to break through, the Avs would have won.
-Greg Zanon played well in his return to the lineup…until the final minute.
-David Jones needs to be moved to the third line. He’s playing like he’s asleep out there, and I would rather have Palushaj or Mitchell on Stastny’s line. Jones is a good player, and he’ll work his way back up to the top two lines. For now though, his excessive icetime is hurting the team.
-Matt Hunwick had a pretty poor game. I’m guessing that he sits whenever EJ or Wilson is back, especially if EJ can return Friday.
The Avs rebounded from a terrible first period to earn a much needed win on home ice.