The Colorado Avalanche finished their Canadian road trip in Winnipeg last night and are now back in the friendly confines of Pepsi Center. Last night the Avalanche were hoping that the return of winger Matt Duchene would fuel them to a win. Winnipeg, however, had different ideas.
Colorado simply got out hustled last night in every aspect of the game. Winnipeg is a strong club that is in a tough Eastern Conference and showed their physical prowess last night against Colorado. Each lose puck, every rebound, each scrum along the boards, it did not matter, Winnipeg out muscled the Avs.
After getting through the first period with no goals scored, the Avalanche let in a goal from Evander Kane only 1:45 into the second period that lit the afterburners of the Jets. From there on, Colorado could not keep pace with the tempo and physicality of Winnipeg.
The lone Colorado goal came from Gabriel Landeskog, his 15th of the season, on an Avalanche power play. After breaking out with a 2-on-2 up ice, Eric Johnson drew the Winnipeg defender away from Landeskog long enough for Johnson to make a crisp pass and Landy ended up beating goaltender Ondrej Pavelec on the short side.
Aside from this blemish, Pavelec looked unbeatable. The Avalanche could not seem to figure him out and their frustration grew as the game wore on. Pavelec made numerous saves that definitely shifted momentum in favor of Winnipeg, thus killing the will of the Avalanche.
Colorado now looks to Wednesday night when the Los Angeles Kings come to town. The Kings will be on the back end of a back-to-back series opening with Phoenix on Tuesday night and concluding with Colorado on Wednesday. This could easily play into Colorado’s hands as the Kings look to take out their frustrations of Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Calgrary on the Coyotes, thus exuding a lot of energy.
With two days off, the Avs now become fans rooting against Dallas, Calgary and the Kings. The best-case scenario for the Avalanche is for L.A. to lose Tuesday and come to Pepsi Center and get beat once again. This helps the Avalanche in the points race, but right now, unfortunately, Colorado is not in total control of their playoff destiny.
1) (R) Wheeler WPG
2) (G) Pavelec WPG
3) (L) Ladd WPG
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