Dec 5, 2013; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers celebrate a goal by forward Taylor Hall (4) during the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

What We Learned: Avalanche - Oilers

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So remember how I said the game could effectively be over inside of the first 20 minutes? Turns out that I was sort of right about that.

Instead of the Avalanche blowing the doors off, they went into Edmonton and got absolutely annihilated on Thursday night. Now, in my defense, I did warn that this Oilers offense was capable of blowing up on any given night, but even I didn’t expect this. Semyon Varlamov was thoroughly torched and outplayed by the struggling Devan Dubnyk.

I would like to say “these things happen” but losses of the 8-2 variety shouldn’t happen. It’s one thing to lose and it’s quite another to get blown out by a bad team talking about making a panic trade or two. I’m not saying to panic, but it’s troubling to say the least.

Let’s get on with what we learned from Thursday night’s 8-2 drubbing.

Special Teams Not So Special

What in Jebas’ name is going on with the special teams? There was a time when the penalty kill was the top unit in all the land. Since then, it’s been a gradual decline and last night’s effort was key in the loss.

Granted, they gave the Oilers seven opportunities (which is way, way, way, way, WAY too many), but to give up three of those? The Oilers are talented, yes, and they have the ability to go off at a moment’s notice, but the Avalanche should be better than this on the P.K.

That’s not even mentioning the fact that the Avalanche had six opportunities on the man advantage themselves and put up a big fat goose egg. How do you expect to win games like this when you can’t score in six power play opportunities? Just massive frustration across the board with the special teams.

Saving Semyon

Varly has become quite the streaky goaltender of late. For a few starts, he’s lights out; making incredible saves that no goaltender should, standing on his head and limiting opposing offenses to nothing more than head shakes and slumped shoulders.

Then there are nights like this where Bad Varly comes out. The Avalanche only faced 28 shots on the night, but EIGHT of them went in. Some of the shots were just good shots but Varly looked about as shaky as he has all season long.

Dec 5, 2013; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov (1) makes a save against the Edmonton Oilers during the first period at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe it’s this groin injury he was supposedly nursing over the four-day layoff. You kind of have to hope that’s the issue because he can get over that in a short time and move on with his life. If it’s an indication that he can’t maintain any kind of consistency, there may be cause for some concern.

The Silver Lining

For a hot minute there, it almost looked like the Avalanche were going to come back. After going down 3-0 at the end of the first period, they came out in the second skating much better and cut the deficit to just one less than ten minutes into the period. A snap shot from David Perron destroyed that momentum and it was never close again.

Sure, this game ended ugly and the Avalanche got stomped by a bad team, but the flash of resiliency is something to put in the back pocket. They showed fight and nearly brought this one back but that’s not going to happen every night when you’re trailing and you’re not going to overcome every deficit.

Now it’s time to regroup and take care of a bad Calgary Flames outfit.

Next up: 12/6 @ Calgary

Ryan is the editor of Mile High Sticking as well as co-owner of The Farm Club. Follow him on Twitter to talk Avs, Sabres, hockey in general, or to let him know what a yutz he is.

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Tags: 2013-14 Season Colorado Avalanche Edmonton Oilers Gabriel Landeskog NHL Semyon Varlamov

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