Ducks Defeat Avs 3-2 — But Avs Did Have a Nice Vacation in the Second Period


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The Anaheim Ducks came to town, and thoroughly frustrated and shut down the Colorado Avalanche tonight. The Ducks won by a final score of 3-2, but the overall level of play wasn’t nearly that close. The Ducks improved to a league leading 10-3-0, while the Avalanche drop to 3-5-5. 3 wins in 13 games isn’t acceptable. Not for a team that wants an invitation to the post-season. Something has to change, although it’s hard to put a finger on exactly what that might be.

The Avalanche played last night, and have struggled in first periods lately, a recipe perhaps for a slow start tonight. The Avalanche took the liberty of adding a twist to that recipe, and the Duchene and MacKinnon lines both had dominant shifts to start the game.

Dennis Everberg fed off the positive momentum generated by the strong start, and got the Avalanche on the board just 2:18 into the period. Everberg has been a stud since rejoining the third line for the Avs, and finally was rewarded with his first career NHL goal. He took a puck in the neutral zone, bounced it off the boards and used his speed to get around the defenseman, and finished the play off with a shot that handcuffed Jason LaBarbera.

The momentum quickly swung to the Ducks, largely thanks to a pair of penalties taken by Maxime Talbot and Nick Holden. Corey Perry tied the game up at 7:20 of the period, with his league leading 11th goal of the season. The goal was a bit controversial, as Perry used his shoulder to direct the puck into the net, and also drove Varlamov into the net on the play.

The rest of the period was fairly even, but Nathan MacKinnon gave the Avalanche the lead heading to the locker room with a late goal. MacKinnon now has 4 goals in 3 games, after having 4 goals in his previous 34 regular season contests.

The second period was in a word, awful, for the Avalanche. The Ducks outshot the Avs 12-2, and dominated the play from start to finish. The Ducks were able to score a pair of goals, off some poor defensive zone coverage by the Avs. The first was scored by Hampus Lindholm and the second by Cam Fowler. Nate Guenin was a key figure on both goals – stay tuned for a post involving him tomorrow.

The Avalanche can’t keep having these periods where they decide they just aren’t going to play. When things aren’t coming easily, the team needs to be accountable, and put in a little extra work doing the little things to get it going. I feel like this Avalanche team doesn’t have that mental edge to make plays when things aren’t going their way. I’m no expert, but throwing away entire periods probably isn’t the best formula for winning hockey games.

The Avalanche nearly tied the game on the first shift of the third period. Matt Duchene had a wide-open net, and attempted a diving shot, but missed wide. The Avalanche failed to get anything going through the rest of the period, and watched another game slip into the loss column.

Very frustrating sequence to end the game, when the Avalanche were awarded a power play with three and a half minutes to go. Even with a 6-on-4 skating advantage, the Avalanche were reluctant to shoot, and couldn’t creatively set up any plays to get pucks to the net. You have Jason LaBarberra in net, an extremely mediocre goaltender who had allowed a soft goal to Everberg earlier in the game, and you aren’t testing him with shots. SHOOT THE PUCK!

The Avalanche continue their three-game homestand on Tuesday against the Canucks, a team the Avs beat 7-3 earlier this season. It’s time for a stretch of good hockey, or this season is going to become an uphill climb that few teams would be able to traverse.