What the Colorado Avalanche Can Learn From Eliminated Teams


The Colorado Avalanche didn’t qualify for the NHL Playoffs and the first round is long over. However, I’ve been busy (code for: lazy) and haven’t had a chance to share some thoughts on the playoffs and how the Avs can learn from the mistakes of eliminated teams.

Ottawa Senators eliminated in six games by the Montreal Canadiens

Takeaway for the Avalanche: Get consistent offense

*The Senators ran into a hot Carey Price, but he was helped out by the poor Senators offense. The top line of the Senators combined for three goals in the six game series and offensive star Bobby Ryan managed just two goals, both in game five, a 5-1 Sens route.

Detroit Red Wings eliminated in seven games by the Tampa Bay Lightning 

Takeaway for the Avalanche: You’re still not Detroit

*Sometimes it’s just better not to be a certain team. In this case, it’s good not to be Detroit. The long-time Avalanche rival blew a 3-2 series lead and really lost the series when they blew a 2-0 lead in the final five minutes of game four. They were at home and leading the series 2-1. If they hold on to win, they’re up 3-1 and sitting pretty. Instead they gave up two late goals before losing in overtime. They won game five, but lost game six and Niklas Kronwall in game seven. The Avs might’ve missed the playoffs, but at least they’re not Detroit.

Pittsburgh Penguins eliminated in five games by the New York Rangers

Takeaway for the Avalanche: Shut down a star player

*Evgeni Malkin, one of the top players in the league, was held without a single point in the five game series. If you hold the second best player on the team without a point, your chances of winning a series is pretty good. All five games were one goal games that could’ve gone either way and certainly could’ve gone the Penguins way had Malkin been able to do anything in the series.

New York Islanders eliminated in seven games by the Washington Capitals

Takeaway for the Avalanche: Don’t stand around on defense. Especially in the third period of Game Seven with the game tied

*In fairness to the Islanders, their blueline was depleted during the playoffs and they were forced to play inexperience defensemen while also running Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy into the ground. Still, the worst thing a hockey player can do is not move their feet. That’s exactly what the Islanders did in the third period of game seven when they let Evgeny Kuznetsov go from the boards to the crease relatively untouched, allowing him to score the series clinching goal.

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St. Louis Blues eliminated in six games by the Minnesota Wild

Takeaway for the Avalanche: Have some sympathy, except for Paul Stastny

*The Avs were in the Blues’ position last year. Division winner facing the Wild. They lost in seven games while the Blues lost in six. So while it’d be fun to laugh at the Blues once again for their playoff shortcomings, I feel like the Avs should be a little sympathetic towards the Central champions. That said, Stastny took the money and ran “home” to St. Louis thinking they were a better fit. Sure the Blues made the playoffs, but Stastny got one game further with the Avs last season, and he knew that the Avs were just starting to come into their own. Now he’s stuck on a team that could undergo major changes in the off-season.

Nashville Predators eliminated in six games by the Chicago Blackhawks

Takeaway for the Avalanche: Don’t lose your top defenseman

*Health is a major factor in the playoffs. The team that wins the Stanley Cup is not only the best team, but they are likely the healthiest as well. The Predators lost Shea Weber in game two of the series and would’ve needed a small miracle to defeat the playoff-tested Blackhawks without him. They won one game, but couldn’t win two more without one of the best defensemen in the league. At least it wasn’t a blatant dirty hit that took him out.

Winnipeg Jets eliminated in four games by the Anaheim Ducks

Takeaway for the Avalanche: Win at least one game

*You can’t win a series if you don’t win a game.

Vancouver Canucks eliminated in six games by the Calgary Flames

Takeaway for the Avalanche: Advanced stats aren’t everything

*The Flames were the Avs of this year. A young team that advanced stats lovers hated because their possession and shot numbers weren’t good. They won games though. They made the playoffs. And they made it past the first round. Advanced stats don’t matter as long as you’re capitalizing on your chances, which the Avs did last year and the Flames have done this year.

Next: Minnesota and Knee-on-Knee Hits

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