Avalanche Eliminated

avs vs preds.jpg

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.

Roy rips Duchene after 30th goal celebration

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.57.36 AM.png

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

avs vs caps

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.


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.

Avs remain ahead of Wild for last wild card spot

Avs remain ahead of Wild for last wild card spot

Gabriel Landeskog fresh off of a three game suspension scored a goal and earned himself an assist in the 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night. The win put the Avs back to one point ahead of the Minnesota Wild, who beat the Chicago Blackhawks in a shootout, for the final wild card spot.

The Avalanche were without star players Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon last night, but they didn’t let it slow them down. Coach Patrick Roy had to get creative with the lines missing the two centers, but numerous players stepped up in the absence of the team’s leading scorers.

The Avalanche started the game with multiple scoring chances, putting up 12 shots on goal to Edmonton’s 8. Neither team scored despite good chances at both ends. Backup goalie Calvin Pickard, getting a start in place of Semyon Varlamov, was strong throughout the first period and the entire game. He made 26 saves versus 28 shots during the game, allowing both goals in the third period, one during a six-on-five where Edmonton had pulled their goalie.

The scoring would get started in the second period with captain Gabirel Landeskog scoring in his first game back. The goal would come after he made a strong hit on an Oiler player to shake the puck loose. Shawn Matthias then passed to Carl Soderberg who would feed the puck to an open Landeskog in the front of the net. Landeskog skated passed the front of the net and slipped the puck in against opposing goaltender Laurent Brossoit.

The second goal would come right as the Avalanche power play ended. Tyson Barrie took a slap shot two seconds after the power play and the puck pinballed in off of an Edmonton player. The goal was Barrie’s 13th of the season. Mikkel Boedker continued his production with the Avs earning an assist and Landeskog earned the other.

Going into the third period the Avs were playing a little more carefully and it came nacl to bite them as the Oilers scored only 2:53 into the period. Matt Hendricks would put the puck in the net earning his 5th of the year. Although the Avalanche would have only four shots in the period, they were able to score the goal that would put them ahead for good. On the Avs second power play of the game, Erik Johnson would take a slap shot that Black Comeau redirected perfectly into the net. Francois Beauchemin earned the other assist on the goal. The Oilers would score once more with their goalie pulled, with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scoring the goal, but they could not score again to send the game into overtime.

This game wrapped up the Canadian road trip for Colorado as they now only play teams in the playoff picture. Going 3-1 on the road trip is good for establishing some momentum going forward, but the path to the playoffs is not going to be an easy one as they are neck and neck with the Minnesota Wild. The Avalanche have one remaining game against the Wild and 9 games left in total with four coming on the road. The Avalanche get a few days to rest before playing again against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.

Avalanche win in a shootout

Avalanche win in a shootout

The Avs pulled out a close win in a shootout Friday night against the Calgary Flames. The game went into overtime in a 3-3 tie and no team could score a goal in the three-on-three five minute overtime. Semyon Varlamov was solid in the shootout stopping all three shots he faced and Mikkel Boedker continued to make himself a valuable asset to the Avs as he scored the only goal of the shootout to win it.

Matt Stajan for the Flames started the scoring off about halfway through the first period. Erik Johnson for the Avalanche scored his 11th of the season, one below his season high that he set last year, to tie the game up at ones. Mikkel Boedker and Nathan MacKinnon assisted on the goal.

The second period was a forgettable one for the Avalanche as they allowed two shorthanded goals on the same power play. Two sloppy plays led to the scoring chances with Mark Giordano scoring his 19th of the season for the first shorthanded goal. :30 seconds later, ex-Av Freddie Hamilton scored his first goal of the season and first goal as a flame. For Hamilton, it was the second goal of his career, the first coming with the Avalanche. The shorthanded goals for the Flames were a continuation of a recent trend for Calgary who has scored five shorthanded goals in four games. In that same span they have allowed only two power play goals.

The Avalanche would not be held down by the two shorthanded goals as Tyson Barrie scored 8:33 into the second period. It was Barrie’s 12th of the season and Mikhail Grigorenko and Jerome Iginla assisted on the goal.

Trailing 3-2 going into the third period, you could just feel the energy coming from the Avalanche as they outshot Calgary 12-11 in the third. The goal to tie the game was not a pretty one, but it was well deserved for Carl Soderberg. After two shot attempts from Shawn Matthias who could not force the puck into the net, Soderberg corralled it and shot it in for his 12th goal of the year. Matthias and Chris Bigras would earn assists on the goal.

Going into overtime, the Avalanche seemed primarily focused on not allowing a goal over trying to score their own. Even with possession of the puck, they didn’t push the play and were more than content to allow their star goaltender to show his prowess in the shootout. That is exactly what Varlamov did as he stopped all three shots from the Flames players. The first attempt got away from Joe Colborne allowing Varly an easy save, but he was strong on the next two. Erik Johnson took the first attempt for the Avalanche an made a good move but ultimately shot the goal high. Boedker would then come into to be the hero as he got goalie Joni Ortio to bite on his fake attempt and put the backhand away for the game winner.

The win for the Avalanche was huge and it put them three points ahead of the Wild for the final wild card spot. The Avalanche were missing both Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landekog. Duchene is listed as out for 7-10 days and Landeskog will come back in the next game. Nathan MacKinnon, who hurt his knee during the game, is out for at least a few games and will be reevaluated. Eric Gelinas also hurt his elbow during the game and is out indefinitely. What this means for the Avs is an exciting call-up of Mikko Rantanen. The prospect is going to get some quality playing time for at least the next couple of games until either Duchene or MacKinnon can return.

Winning all three games of Landeskog’s suspension was huge as some non-star players stepped up. That trend will have to continue if the Avs want to hold onto their playoff spot over Minnesota. Next up for the Avalanche is a game in Edmonton against the Oilers. The game wraps up the Canadian road trip for the Avs who have gone 2-1 on the trip.

Mikkel Boedker leads Avs to win

Mikkel Boedker leads Avs to win

The Colorado Avalanche beat the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night 3-1. The Avs finally played a complete game, but more importantly came out in the third period with lots of energy and shut Vancouver down.

Newcomer Mikkel Boedker came out and scored his first multi-goal game for the Avalanche. Boedker scored his first goal in the first period of the game, number 15 to tie the game up 1-1. Jerome Iginla and Matt Duchene assisted on the goal and the Avalanche never looked back. After a quiet second period where neither team scored, Boedker came out in the third and scored :37 seconds into the period for his 16th of the season. The goal would turn out to be the game winner. Nathan MacKinnon assisted on the goal for his 30th of the year.

Also playing a great game was Andreas Martinsen. Martinsen who was a healthy scratch by Patrick Roy after falling off from a hot start, has come back and scored twice since being put back in the lineup. Andreas came out for his shift in the third, showed his strength by driving to the front of the net, and scored his fourth goal of the season, showing he’s more than just a big body who can hit hard. Shawn Matthias would get the loan assist on the goal.

The most important part of this game was the Avalanche playing solid defensively and goalie Semyon Varlamov playing as well as the Avalanche need him to. The Avs as a team allowed 29 shots with Varly stopping all but one.

Without their captain and star player Gabriel Landeskog, the Avalanche have won both games. Landeskog still has one more game in his three game suspension that he earned after cross-checking an opposing player in the head. Landeskog himself called the play very, very dumb, but luckily for the Avs it hasn’t caused them any losses. It is important to see a team come out and still win without one of their best players and that is exactly what the Avs have done. Players have stepped up their game, Martinsen, Boedker, and others are really playing like they need to. If the Avalanche can come out and win again without Landeskog, when he comes back it’ll boost an already competitive team.

The Avalanche play Friday in Calgary against a struggling Flames team, but that doesn’t make them any less of a threat. The Avs need to come out and win the game to stay ahead of Minnesota for the final wild card spot. Minnesota does have a game in hand against the Avs and are only one point out, so winning each and every game is imperative for Colorado.