Minnesota practically eliminated the Avs from playoff contention Saturday afternoon as they won big 4-0. The loss put the Avalanche 5 points behind the Wild for the last wild card spot and while they still have a game in hand over the Wild, the momentum the Wild will be carrying from this game will likely lead them to the playoffs.
It was a classic Wild vs Avalanche game (at least for this season) with the Wild dominating and the goaltending for the Wild shutting down the Avalanche. Semyon Varlamov did not play bad by any stretch of the imagination, but the Avs defense couldn’t control the Wild as they finished with 35 shots on goal against Varly.
The Avs couldn’t score against Devan Dubnyk who continued his hot play of late and great play against Colorado. Zach Parise for the Wild scored twice and earned the game winning goal on his first goal that came in the second period. From there, there was no looking back and the Wild coasted to an easy victory.
Without Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon, the Avs could simply not get anything going. Even with them it is hard to imagine this game going differently. With this loss, the Avalanche need some sort of miracle to make the playoffs, but even then this team needs to take a long look towards the future.
Coach Patrick Roy is a hall of famer and a legend in Colorado. He is arguably one of the best goalies to ever play and revolutionized goalie play during his career. His coaching career will not have the same legacy however. Despite the great run the Avs had in their first season with Roy at the helm, it was more based off of spectacular goalie play from Varlamov over good coaching. The possession stats are very scary for the Avs as they are dismal and last in the league in 5-5 play. Currently, this is not a team that can make a Stanley Cup run without goaltending that marvels game in and game out. That kind of goaltending is not sustainable, nor should a goalie be expected to carry a team the way the Avs goalies currently have to carry the team. Mismanagement of lines coming from the coaches is largely to blame here and it is not likely that Coach Patrick Roy is with the Avs for much longer. He may get another year, but without a drastic change in his coaching style, he could be gone sooner rather than later. It is sad to say, as Roy is a legend and as an alumni he is loved very much, but the harsh reality is the Avs are not currently a team that can make a run deep into the playoffs. The offensive talent is certainly there, and the defense is looking up with some of the prospects the Avs have and the duo of Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie, but possession is a big part of the game and something has got to give.
The Avalanche will look to get back on track Monday night against the Nashville Predators. The Avalanche need to win out to even have a shot at the playoffs, so look for the team to play with some desperation tomorrow night.