An avalanche is one of nature’s most powerful natural disasters. The most powerful avalanches have uprooted trees and have destroyed entire roads and buildings. These natural disasters are caused by layers of snow building up on each other resulting in an unstable surface of snow mixed with ice. It was because of this raw power and force that Coloradans chose to name their newly acquired hockey team from Quebec after these disasters that happen quite frequently in the backcountry
of the state. However, the Colorado Avalanche have found themselves in the midst of a forming avalanche of their own, by dropping the previous five games. If something does not get corrected, the Avs could find themselves gasping for air riding in their own self-created avalanche, right out of the playoffs.
With two hard fought games under their belts, the Avalanche cannot afford another heartbreaking loss. Colorado lost a 1-0 game to the Wild in which, aside from one goal, the entire Avalanche team looked the best they had all season. Then two days later the Avalanche held onto to a one-goal lead up until the waning seconds of the third period but lost another heartbreaker of a game.
It is hard to come up with another example of a team that has fought so hard, but have come out on the losing end as many times as the Avalanche have this season. With the most games played in the Western Conference, Colorado cannot afford to “give” away games.
Normally analysts can pick apart teams that find themselves in a free-fall. This is because teams usually have holes that need filled. The Avalanche seem to be the anomaly. Each of the 5 games in this winless drought have been lost by one goal. The Avs are not playing terrible hockey. In fact in the game against the Canucks on Saturday, Colorado out shot, out hit and out worked Vancouver. The Canucks just happened to capitalize on two mistakes that Colorado made. Does that make Vancouver a better club than the Avalanche? No, it just means that they seize each opportunity presented.
The biggest lesson Colorado can learn from the Vancouver game is to finish. Not too many teams can out shoot and out work the Canucks, but Colorado did. The Avs missed two empty-net opportunities that would have iced the game. The Avalanche need to take notes from the Canucks and learn to finish a game. Colorado will get their first chance to show that they can finish on Tuesday when Chicago rolls into Pepsi Center.
With two days off to prepare for the ‘Hawks, the Avalanche have plenty of time to brood over the inexcusable loss to Vancouver. Colorado needs to harness that aggression and put it to good use against Chicago on Tuesday. If the Avs play like they did for the first 55 minutes of the Vancouver game, the Blackhawks have no chance to come out of Denver with a victory.
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