The Colorado Avalanche slid through some crucial and disheartening losses, yet they still remain relevant in the postseason hunt for a wild card spot.
1. Goaltender Calvin Pickard played an outstanding game against the Florida Panthers as he stonewalled the cats, setting a new franchise records with 24 saves in the third period, to preserve the win.
2. Both forwards Mikkel Boedker and Shawn Matthias look like good late season additions to the team. Boedker has already notched a goal and an assist, but he also drives well to the net and creates chances in the offensive zone. Matthias, who already has an assist and a goal since joining the team, fights well for the puck and generates pressure with his physical play. Both are upgrades. Good job, front office!
3. The Avalanche, despite losing two critical division games to the Minnesota Wild and the Nashville Predators, remain only two points behind the Wild for the eighth playoff position. With 15 games left, Colorado still has a chance at the postseason. Can anyone say winning streak?
4. In an ironic twist, Colorado has kicked up their compete level but have not gotten the wins to show for it. They have averaged over 31 shots on goal in the last three games (remember when people were hoping for them to break 20?) and have forced teams to block a total of 46 shots over the same time. Yet, the win/loss column does not reflect their improved play as they own a 5-5-0 record in their last 10 games.
6. On the same note, Colorado has successfully killed the last 15 penalties and have allowed only one goal in 26 penalty killing opportunities over the last nine games.
8. Recent call up defenseman Chris Bigras scored his first NHL goal in the game against the Wild. Congratulations! May it be the first in a long and illustrious career!
9. Winger Jack Skille played his 300th NHL game against the Florida Panthers. Kudos and best wishes for 300 more!
10. Four Avalanche players were named to teams for the World Cup of hockey– captain Gabriel Landeskog for Sweden, Mikkel Boedker for Europe, Nathan MacKinnon for North America, and Semyon Varlamov for Russia.
11. Gabriel Landeskog‘s resurgence with two goals and an assist in the past week should definitely be noted. Tyson Barrie has also managed to rack up three assists while Matt Duchene earned one goal and an assist and Nathan MacKinnon tallied two assists. Will this be enough to propel the team to the postseason?
1. Going 1-3 in the last four games this close to the postseason cost Colorado dearly. They now trail the Minnesota Wild by two points for the final Wild Card spot with the Wild owning the tie-breaker. They aren’t out of it yet, but their backs are definitely against the wall.
2. Newly acquired defenseman Eric Gelinas suffered a back injury in his first game with the Avalanche and missed the two subsequent games. Gelinas is scheduled to suit up for Monday’s game so hopefully he can help elevate the team’s defensive play.
3. The Avalanche needed Semyon Varlamov to play the kind of lights out hockey that has sealed wins in the past. Unfortunately, he hasn’t looked the same since his civil court case. Maybe watching the last couple of games from the bench will have helped him regain his competitive focus.
4. Colorado owns an 0-3 record in afternoon games. Maybe they should reconsider what they are eating for breakfast. Or try some coffee. Ideas anyone?
1. Watching the Avalanche lose the last three of four games when they were either tied or ahead going into the third period was not only ugly, but excruciating. By great Landy’s beard, give them an energy drink during the second intermission, or chocolate, or a power bar. Something. Anything. Please. Pretty please.
2. The Avalanche have yet to win when they have allowed four goals in a game. What happened to the team’s young dyanamic scorers? Shouldn’t they be able to score more than three goals when the games matter most?
3. Is anyone else tired of seeing the opponents score not just one, but two, sometimes three, goals on an empty net? If the Avalanche can’t keep pressure in the offensive zone with six men on the ice, they shouldn’t be pulling their goalie. Losing the puck once is understandable. Multiple times is just painful.
4. Colorado’s home record is an ugly 15-15-4. Enough said.
WHAT TO WATCH
1. The Avalanche have a chance to show what they are made of this week. If they can generate some wins, perhaps start a winning streak, they can still make the playoffs.
2. Yet another important game will be covered by NBC sports when Colorado plays the Arizona Coyotes. Listening to them mispronounce the Avalanche roster will not be enjoyable. Feel free to devise more creative ways to follow the game. And since the game involves the Coyotes, there will be multiple massacres of Alex Tanguay’s name yet again.
3. The front office seemed to make a statement about keeping their younger players in San Antonio when they added new players near the trade deadline. If the standings shift, or injuries occur, could they reconsider and call up some of their young guns from the Rampage?