Takeaways From Avs vs. Caps Game


“It’s a tough situation losing a game where you thought you played a good game, but sometimes those things happen.” – Patrick Roy

The Colorado Avalanche hosted the Washington Capitals Thursday night after being on the road for a week and having four days off. They had finally strung two wins together, and were hoping to get a little winning streak going.

Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin spoiled that, first with a shot off of Avalanche veteran Alex Tanguay’s face and later with the game-winning goal. Here’s what we can take away from the game.

1. Alex better be ok.

Alex on Alex action was not good for the Avs last night.

Ovechkin, noted for his bomb of a shot, wound up and slammed the puck. Tanguay, just a few feet away, got his stick on the puck, which proceeded to ramp up. The puck whacked Tanguay in the face, who spun around and dropped. Ovechkin, in a class move, stopped the play so Tanguay could get off the ice. Tanguay did just that, clutching his face in obvious pain. He did not return to the game, and it was later reported that he was taken to the hospital.

The Avs can’t afford to lose Alex Tanguay. They were fine without him all last season, but he’s been one of the few players and practically the only forward living up to his potential this season. Tanguay leads the Avalanche with goals with seven on just 28 shots. That’s a 25% shooting percentage. The Avs need Tanguay.

So, besides general well wishes and because Tanguay is a prince of a man, here’s a little extra hope that he’s ok.

2. The Avs’ best offense is an offensive defense.

Defenseman Tyson Barrie leads the Avalanche in points. Defenseman Erik Johnson is #5 on the list of scorers. Last night Barrie kept the Avs in the game with his third-period goal, which Ovechkin didn’t nullify until almost the very end of the period.

This situation is strange from a team whose top-six includes Matt Duchene, Nate MacKinnon, Jarome Iginla, Gabriel Landeskog and Alex Tanguay, not to mention Ryan O’Reilly.

3. Shots result in goals.

After the game in Montreal in which Matt Duchene took 10 shots and scored a goal, he stated he’d shoot all the time if you told him ever 10th shot resulted in a goal.

Dear Avalanche, shots result in goals. The Avs got 29 shots on goal, which isn’t too bad. However, stay-at-home defenseman Jan Hejda had more shots on goal than Ryan O’Reilly, Matt Duchene, Jarome Iginla and John Mitchell. Hejda had two shots. The above forwards had either one  — or none (O’Reilly, Mitchell — Tanguay, too, but see above.)

Daniel Briere recorded four shots. He got a goal. Tyson Barrie recorded three shots. He got a goal. Lesson — shots result in goals.

4. Unless you’re Gabriel Landeskog.

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Or Nathan MacKinnon, apparently. MacKinnon recorded four shots on net. Landeskog led the team with six. Landeskog did earn an assist on Barrie’s goal, and MacKinnin assisted on both. However, between the two of them, they recorded that magical 10, shots but didn’t get a goal.

The only real takeaway from this is that they’re snake-bitten. The game is a micro-cosm for their season thus far. Landeskog leads the team with 61 shots, and MacKinnon is second with 60. Yet Landeskog has only four goals and MacKinnon five.

Head coach Patrick Roy has become something of a broken record, talking about how the Avalanche need to simplify their game and how he’s going to be patient with them. We, the Avs Nation, have no control over the former except to agree. However, we can control the latter and not lose faith.

After all, we got spoiled last season. Last season, that last, concerted rush would have resulted in a game-tying goal. This year is beginning to feel like an equalizer for last year’s luck.

Speaking of keeping the faith, I proposed the Avs needed to win 37 more games to ensure a seat in the playoffs. Unfortunately the loss means they still need that 37, now in 62 games. Let’s just count it down anyway: 37.