Like a dead skunk in the middle of the road, stinkin’ to high heaven, so lies the Avalanche penalty kill right now. You don’t need to search any more past Loudon Wainright’s classic 1970s tune for the right metaphor for the Avs’ PK, which was by far the most guilty party of Colorado’s desultory 4-1 loss at home Monday night to the New York Islanders.

If the Avs aren’t getting scored on the normal way on the PK, they’re serving up heaping platters of golden chances on their own power play. An Islanders’ PP unit that was 2-for-34 coming in vivisected the Avs with round-the-horn passing and easy goals in front, and that was enough to beat an Avs team that seemed to mostly just shrug their way through this thing.

So much for building a bigger cushion against playoff chasers, against a team they should beat at home. The Avs are going the wrong way again, folks. That 6-4 win over Dallas the other night is looking more and more like a quick splash of concealer on a face that’s breaking out in hives, or something like that.

The Avs are now 1-3-1 in the last five games. Sure, teams are going to go through tough patches, but what’s becoming more of a bigger concern is the goaltending – with Semyon Varlamov having another spotty outing – and a PK unit that is flat out costing them games.

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Adrian Dater

Adrian Dater, was born in Vermont and lived as a tot in New York City before living most of his first 25 years in New Hampshire. Education:  Went to Keene State College and received a degree in journalism in 1988. I wrote sports for the college paper, called "The Equinox." Career: After a two-year stint out of college working as a proofreader and part--time sports writer for The Concord Monitor (N.H)., I moved to Denver in May of 1991, with no job, no connections and no car, but a lot of hope. After doing some odd jobs (including working as a bill collector for a trash company), I found some odd writing jobs for local periodicals and then latched on with The Denver Post in December of 1991 as a score-taker for the high-school sports department. That led to more writing jobs, such as covering DU hockey, lots of high-school coverage and various minor-pro sports. In March of 1995, I got a scoop that would change my life: I broke the story of the Quebec Nordiques moving to Denver to become the Avalanche, and for the next 19 years I covered the team every day. In 2015, I became the lead NHL national columnist with Bleacher Report, where I worked until 2017 before joining BSN Denver. I have also been a main hockey writer with Sports Illustrated, The Hockey News, The Sporting News, Hockey Digest, and have written seven books on sports, including the 2006 best-selling "Blood Feud", a book about the famous Avs-Red Wings rivalry. Most memorable sports moment: As a fan, when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. Also, when the Celtics beat the Lakers in the 1984 NBA Finals. The finest sports book I’ve ever read: It would probably be a book called "Game Misconduct", by Russ Conway. It's the story of how a small-town sports reporter (Conway) in Massachusetts exposed the corruption and brought down one of the most powerful figures in the NHL at the time, Alan Eagleson. The book is a primer on how to report and investigate powerful entities. One sports movie that I can’t live without: I loved "Rocky III", and I loved a 1977 basketball movie starring Robby Benson called "One on One." And, of course, "Slap Shot." Most memorable experience as a reporter: I've gotten to interview some of my boyhood heroes, including Larry Bird, Fred Lynn and Luis Tiant. But probably the most memorable of them all was writing the story of Ray Bourque's one and only Stanley Cup in his 22 years, his final game as a pro with the Avs in 2001. The sport that started it all: As a guy who eventually grew to become 6-foot-6, I could hoop it up some. I was the starting center on my high-school team that made the N.H. state semifinals in 1983. While I never played competitive hockey, I played a lot on the many frozen ponds of New Hampshire and had a pretty good slap shot.