Avalanche Ground Jets, But What’s The Narrative?


I’m going to give you two potential storylines for tonight:

1. Colorado Avalanche show late season fight, and defeat the Winnipeg Jets just two nights after defeating the Nashville Predators, both teams fighting for playoff positioning. Clearly, this team is playing well down the stretch, and not throwing in the towel!

2. Colorado Avalanche get shutout by the Jets, and lose the shot battle 41-21, just two nights after getting outshot 42-23 by the Nashville Predators. Clearly, this team is showing off the flaws that have plagued them all season, and they aren’t exactly making a statement with their play at the end of their season.

The truth?

I would argue that there is a lot of truth in both statements.

There is nothing wrong with being excited about the two wins. Joey Hishon getting his first career goal, and the game-winner as a cherry on top was spectacular. That Nashville game was a barn-burner, and it was an exciting win for the Avalanche. I thoroughly enjoyed how it turned out.

Tonight, the Avs hung tough, and managed to scrape out a shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets. The victory made more impressive by the fact that the Jets are clawing to make the playoffs. Ryan O’Reilly and Matt Duchene both made some slick moves in the shootout, and the Avalanche continued their perfect homestand.

It’s cool to feel proud of your team, excited for the players, and happy to be an Avalanche fan.

The narrative I don’t like seeing, is that the Avalanche have made a statement with their play in these last two games. To me, it’s pretty clear what has happened. Semyon Varlamov stopped 40-of-42 shots against Nashville, and the Avalanche got really lucky on a phantom goalie interference call. They won, but a lot of things went their way.

I’ll give credit where it’s due, Joey Hishon went out in a tie game, and made a play. However, based on the shot discrepancy (the Avs were down 23-7 midway through the game), they were lucky to not be down a couple of goals when Hish made that play. The Avalanche found a way to win (again, credit where it’s due), but they seemed to be going through the motions at best for the first 30  minutes.

Tonight, the Avalanche got shutout for crying out loud. The Jets dominated the shot charts, and if it weren’t for Reto Berra having a career game (congrats on the 41 save shutout, but seriously dude… where did it come from?), the score could have again been very lopsided against the Avalanche. Much like the first half of the Nashville game, the Avalanche seemed to go through the motions through most of regulation. They looked inspired in the OT, but were fortunate to have even gotten there.

It’s not until results and the process exist in harmony, that you can truly write a convincing narrative (for example, one that says the Avalanche are finishing their season with a strong statement)

I just think people need to be careful when they equate a result with a process and what actually happened. The Avalanche had two exciting wins, where they got completely carried by their goaltenders. I don’t find myself thinking they looked like a team who played drastically different these past two games than they have in most of their losses this season.

I don’t look at these games and see an Avalanche team that has decided to not lay down, and are going out and imposing their will on the opposing teams. I see a team that had a 0.976 save percentage over two games. If that’s a normal save percentage, we’re sitting here talking about how the Avalanche just got spanked in back-to-back home games.

The point is. The result of the wins is great. Be proud.

The process of how they happened… Less great. Don’t be naive.

Just remember, when you see these narratives of how awesome the Avalanche are finishing their season, results can trick the mind. It’s not until results and the process exist in harmony, that you can truly write a convincing narrative (for example, one that says the Avalanche are finishing their season with a strong statement).

Next: Avs Season Comes Up Short

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