Avalanche Eliminated

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The Nashville Predators beat the Avalanche last night with a final score of 4-3. The Avalanche stuck around for the entire game and didn’t play terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but ultimately they fell.

There isn’t much to be said that hasn’t already been said. The Avalanche needed to win this game to stay alive. They needed to play with desperation and come out and make a point, but they couldn’t do it. Despite Minnesota losing, meaning the Avs could’ve stayed in the picture, the Predators were just better.

An awesome goal from Filip Forsberg was the highlight of the game for either team, and around the league. He flipped the puck between his legs and with his stick between his legs, he shot the puck past Varlamov into the back of the net. The play was something you just have to admire, even as an Avs fan, and although that goal could’ve meant the difference in the outcome of the game, you have to appreciate it.

The Avalanche played well. They matched the shot total for the Preds and even though they got down by two early, they fought back to tie the game. The third period had the Predators scoring early, but the Avs answered back to tie the game at 3-3. Craig Smith would score the game winner 4:17 into the third period and the Avalanche were unable to answer.

The last four games have the Avalanche losing four straight. They had all the opportunity in the world to come back into the playoff picture. The Wild have also lost four in a row and have struggled to score. They were inviting the Avs to take the playoff spot from them, but as Patrick Roy said, they seem to have a losing mindset. The final two games of the season are meaningless for the Avalanche and they should be looking towards next season to be real competitors.

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Roy rips Duchene after 30th goal celebration

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The Avalanche lost big to the St. Louis Blues last night with a final score of 5-1. The loss put the Avs that much closer to being mathematically eliminated from the Playoffs as they now have to win out and the Wild would have to lose out.

The story of the night however, was Coach Patrick Roy throwing leading scorer Matt Duchene under the bus after a celebration. Duchene scored his 3oth goal of the season, a season milestone that he has never reached before, and then took a quick moment to celebrate. The celebration was apparently too much for Roy who in a press conference called Duchene out. The move by Roy is one that has cost him some fans and has made a lot of people really question his leadership and control over this team. Roy stated that the team is currently in a losing mindset, but you have to wonder where this mindset is getting started. The coach is certainly responsible for some of this blame and with a season like the Avs have had, Roy is not clear of the blame at all. Bad line combinations, questionable goalie pulls, and defensives schemes have all been because of Patrick Roy and this year has showed that maybe he isn’t the right coach for this team.

After Roy was first made the coach of the Avs, I was stoked. Someone who is a legend within the organization, someone who could hopefully get this team on the right track after a lot of losing seasons, and his first year he did exactly that. Or so it seemed. The more you look at the past two seasons, the more Roy’s rookie coaching season seems like a fluke. The defensive scheme isn’t working and the goaltending is not sustainable with the scheme Roy likes to use. People were saying this the first year of his coaching career, but because the Avs made it to the playoffs and were so close to moving on past the first round, it was forgivable and chalked up to Roy maybe changing the way hockey is played. The past two years have brought to light exactly how feasible his coaching methods are and it is not looking good for him as a future coach. Roy was a great player, one of the greatest goalies ever, but it doesn’t seem like he is cut out to be an NHL coach. If Roy gets one more year at the helm of the Avalanche, some major adjustments are going to need to be made.

The talent for this team is there, but the coaching and leadership seems to be lacking. I like Patrick Roy, but his comments have not been well received and another year of bad possession numbers have put him in jeopardy of losing his job. This year is a lost cause for the Avalanche, next year could very well make or break the future of this organization.

 

Avs 3rd period pressure not enough

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The Washington Capitals beat the Avalanche last night in a complete manhandling of a game. The final score doesn’t tell even close to the full story as the Caps only won 4-2 and the last goal came in an empty net. The shot total tells a little bit more of the story as the Capitals outshot the Avalanche with a whopping 47 shots to the Avs dismal 19. The Capitals are the best team in the league so this wasn’t exactly unexpected, but it was still a tough game to watch at times.

The first period ended scoreless, but the Capitals took a lot of shots and hit more than their fair share of posts. This game could’ve easily been lost in the first period if not for some luck on the Avs end.

The second period the Capitals came out strong again and this time they wouldn’t be stopped (by the post). Jay Beagle would start the scoring off 8:50 into the period scoring an unassisted goal. A little over four minutes later while on the power play, Alex Ovechkin scored his league leading 45th goal and his 20th goal on the power play. A minute and a half later another goal would get scored by the Caps, this one coming from Jason Chimera. Those three goals looked like the end for the Avalanche but they continued to fight and actually made it a good game.

Before the period would end, Jarome Iginla would score on the power play, his 20th of the season, with assists from Gabe Landeskog and Carl Soderberg. This would put the game at 3-1 going into the third period.

The Capitals would continue to push the pace of this game in the third, but again were stopped by posts. This allowed the Avs to crawl back into the game. A little over 14 minutes into the third period, captain Landeskog would put the puck into the back of the net bringing the Avs within 1 goal. Blake Comeua and Soderberg would assist on the goal. Both Comeua and Soderberg have proven to be great pickups for the Avs this offesason and despite the Avs not making the playoffs, they have been valuable.

The Capitals would go on to hold off the pressure from the Avs with a man advantage with the goaltender pulled and would eventually score the empty netter to seal the deal. A 4-2 final score is about as close as this game could’ve been with the Caps hitting the post six different times throughout the course of the game. With 47 shots on goal, the Avs need to play better and give up less shots. The Avs defensive method of allowing shots and hoping to block them is not a good scheme and something needs to change next year or the Avalanche will continue to be one of the worst teams in possession numbers and will likely not be able to make a deep run into the playoffs.

The Avalanche are still five points behind the Minnesota Wild who lost last night as well, but the Avs still have a harder schedule ahead of them and things don’t look great for the playoffs. The Avalanche will play the St. Louis Blues tomorrow night and hope to build some momentum for next season.

Blues hand Avalanche a loss

Blues hand Avalanche a loss

The St. Louis Blues handed the Avs a crushing loss on Tuesday night in a game they won 3-1. The loss put the Avs behind 5 points to the Wild who handily beat the Blackhawks on the same night. For the Avs playoff hopes it was absolutely imperative that the Wild lose an that the Avalanche won, or at the very least that the Avs won to keep pace. Neither of those things happened and the Avs are once again falling out of the playoff race.

The first period started the story of night for the Avalanche as they went onto the power play less than 2 minutes into the first. It didn’t take the Blues long to convert the power play to a goal. David Backes scored his 20th of the season and put the Blues up 1-0 early in the first. The Blue continued to push the pace and control the game for much of the period.

The Avs would come back in the first to tie the game on a slick play by Tyson Barrie. Mikhail Grigorenko would take the pass from Barrie and shot it into the open net for the easy goal. It was just about the only scoring chance the Avs had in the first and they executed it well to earn some momentum going into the second period.

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The second period was much of the same from the Blues as they dominated for most of the period. Another power play goal for the Blues from Troy Brouwer put them ahead for good, but just for safe measure Vladimir Tarasenko put one away to put the Blues ahead 3-1. Tarasenko scored the goal on an easy giveaway from Chris Bigras who tried to pass the puck but couldn’t put anything on it as it went on its edge.

The Avalanche came out with some energy and desperation in the third period and outshot the Blues 10-3, but none of the 10 shots found the back of the net and the Avs lost the game. Overall, the Blues early domination and possession eliminated any chance that Avs had of winning this game. The Avalanche only got 11 shots in the first two periods and simply could not get anything going. Missing Duchene and MacKinnon, along with playing the night before, certainly played into the game, but a team in the position of the Avs needed to play with desperation and they just couldn’t score when they needed it or make the stops.

The Avalanche get a couple of days off before playing the best team in the league, the Washington Capitals, on Friday night. The game could see Duchene or MacKinnon back, and it is an absolute must win for the Avalanche if they want any hope for the playoffs. This season is essentially over though and the coaches should focus on getting Zadorov and Bigras quality minutes in hopes of preparing them for a hopeful next season playoff run.

Avalanche hold on against the Predators

Avalanche hold on against the Predators

Colorado got back on track Monday night against the Nashville predators as they came out with the win 4-3. Three of those goals came in the first period and they Avs were able to hold on to the win as the Predators rallied back to make it a close game.

The Avs showed their grit right away with Jarome Iginla fighting Barret Jackman. The fight was an obvious energy booster and set the tone for the Avs early in the game, it was exactly what they needed to get going.

The scoring would start pretty quickly after the fight in the first when Nashville gave the puck away in their own zone. Blake Comeau got the puck right on his stick and was able to put the puck away on a wrist shot against Pekka Rinne. It was Comeau’s 12th goal of the season for the Avalanche and it was unassisted.

The next two goals for the Avalanche came with a little bit of puck luck. While charging towards the front of the net, Landeskog was able to knock the puck in past Rinne. The goal was reviewed and confirmed and took a lot of life out of the building. Comeau and Soderberg picked up assists on the goal and continued to show why they have been valuable pick ups for the Avalanche.

The next goal was very much the same. With Skille barreling towards the front of the net, McCleod passed the puck towards him and it was deflected in off of Skille. The goal was once again reviewed and confirmed and this time it completely took the life out of the building. It came only a minute and a half after Landeskog’s goal and also was the goal that sent Rinne to the bench.

Nashville wasn’t done fighting as Craig Smith scored a goal of his own before the period ended putting the game at 3-1 going into the second period. The second period saw no goals as both teams seem to be preparing for a tough third period. With the Avalanche being one of the worst teams in the league going into the third with a lead, Nashville certainly felt they had a chance to come back.

12:13 into the third period, Shawn Matthias would put the Avs ahead by three goals at the time with the eventual game winning goal. The Preds kept pushing the pace though, and would come back and score two goals. The first came from Colton Sissons 14:58 into the third period and put them down by two. Less than thirty seconds later defenseman Roman Josi scored his 13th of the year and put the Preds down by only one. Just as the Avs lead seemed to be slipping away for the nth time this season, they held on and Semyon Varlamov stayed strong. The Preds put 16 shots on net in the third and came close to tying the game up a few times, but ultimately the Avs earned the win and a desperately needed two points.

The Avs are still fighting for a playoff spot and as unlikely as it might be, they seem to be fighting hard still to get in. Some losses from Minnesota and winning out are what is needed for the Avalanche, but they are not mathematically eliminated yet so they should keep fighting. The Avs are on a back-to-back as they play the St. Louis Blues tonight. They are going to have to come out with some energy early and need to play a smart game as they will be tired. Anything is possible though and as long as there’s a chance its good to see Colorado fighting.

Avs lose tough one to Wild

Avs lose tough one to Wild

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.

Avalanche lose a tough one to Philly

Avalanche lose a tough one to Philly

This was a tale of two halves for the Avalanche, a game divided almost exactly into thirty minute sections in which two entirely different teams seemed to show up for the Avs. A hot start, seemed like the Avs would win this one handily, but as the tides turned, so did the momentum and ultimately it fell on the side of Philadelphia. The Flyers would win this one against Colorado 4-2 in the end.

The first period and a half for the Avalanche was perhaps some of the best hockey the team has played all year. They were controlling the puck, putting shots on net, and not allowing Philadelphia to even penetrate their zone. Offensively and defensively the team looked great, and then after scoring their first goal the Avs started to sit back and stopped putting the same pressure on the Flyers.

The first period ended 0-0, but the shots strongly favored the Avalanche as they outshot Philly 15-7. They were putting shots on goal, the defensemen were jumping up into the play, and they just generally dominated. It continued into the second period until Nick Holden scored the first goal for the Avs. The shot came from Girgorenko who was the prime reason for the goal, but it ricocheted off of Holden’s skate who would earn credit for the goal. Earning the other assist was Mikkel Boedker who is continuing to play well for the Avalanche.

After that first goal Philly started to play the way the Avs had been playing and quickly took over. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare would score the first goal for the Flyers on a tip in on a slap shot from Flyers star defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere. That would tie the game up 1-1.

After a lot of arguing to end the period and some almost fights, the third period would start with 4-4 action. The Avalanche regained some of their lost energy, primarily due to John Mitchell who played a fantastic third period, but after the Avalanche goal by Mitchell that put them ahead, the Avs couldn’t keep control of the game.

Radko Gudas and Claude Giroux would score 19 seconds apart to put Philadelphia ahead for good. Those two goals completed deflated the Avs as they couldn’t get much going at all in the last five minutes of the game. Ryan White would earn an empty net goal as he was tripped before putting the puck into the net. The final score was 4-2 and for the Avalanche the loss was killer.

The Avs now sit 3 points behind the Minnesota Wild who won Thursday night big over the Calgary Flames 6-2. The Avalanche do play Minnesota one more time and do have a game in hand, but the Wild control their own destiny and if they win out they will make the playoffs over the Avalanche. The game Saturday against the Wild is an absolute must win as without the win they will fall to 5 points behind. The Avalanche can’t really even let the game go into overtime. Some magic will be needed and the team is going to have to play extra hard, especially missing Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon for at least one more game each, if they want a shot at the playoffs. I’m hopeful the Avalanche can do it, but only if they play like they did in the first half of this game. If they play like they did in the second half, there isn’t much hope.