Colorado Avalanche Season in Review: Metropolitan Splits


The Colorado Avalanche season in review continues with a look at how the team fared against the Metropolitan Division. Colorado didn’t do quite as well against the Metropolitan Division as they did against the Atlantic Division. However, the team still went 8-6-2. That makes it 17-10-5 against the Eastern Conference as a whole.

Just like with the Atlantic, the Avalanche split several of their two-game series with their Metro opponents. Today we’ll look at the series that were split evenly.

Colorado Avalanche vs. New York Rangers

Nov 13, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Colorado Avalanche center

Nathan MacKinnon

(29) scores on New York Rangers goalie

Henrik Lundqvist

(30) in a shootout at Madison Square Garden. Colorado Avalanche won 4-3 in shootout. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The series with the Rangers showed the ups and downs of the Colorado Avalanche season. The win actually came in that difficult November. The Avalanche took the action all the way to a shootout. Varlamov stopped two of the three shooters, while both Nathan MacKinnon and Alex Tanguay scored for the Avalanche.

Interestingly, of the three regulation goals for the Avs, MacKinnon and Tanguay got two of them. Center Matt Duchene, who was stopped in the shootout, earned the other goal — the first of the game, actually. Avs won 4-3.

The February game highlighted the down that game before the Avalanche were eliminated from the playoffs. After the slow start to the Colorado Avalanche season, the Avs knew they had to be strong in February. However, the 6-3 loss to the Rangers capped a three-game losing streak.

The Avalanche scratched back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game then watched with seeming helplessness as the Rangers scored two more on a very average Semyon Varlov. An empty-netter sealed the deal.

Colorado Avalanche vs. New York Islanders

The series against the New York Islanders was a see-saw. The Avalanche won the first game of the series with a decisive 5-0 score and lost the second game with an embarrassing 6-0 score. Both teams won at home.

The Avalanche victory was just the third of the Colorado Avalanche season, coming at the end of October. It was a game that seemed to end some of the Avs worries — not only did Nathan MacKinnon score his first and second of the season, one of the tallies came on the power play. Maybe the sophomore wasn’t slumping, and maybe the power play was ok. (Neither was true, of course.)

The loss came less than two weeks later. Colorado barely seemed to show up, recording only 20 shots on goal. As the Islanders kept piling up goals, it was clear the Avs were essentially giving up. Or maybe they were so nerve-racked they started playing give-away with the puck. Either way, it was a very frustrating game to watch.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

The Colorado Avalanche season didn’t include the Columbus Blue Jackets until January. The Avalanche had finished 2014 strong with an overtime win and had started 2015 just as strong with a shootout win.

However, the second game of the year saw the Avs lose one of the many one-goal games that didn’t go their way. The Avs had a lead early on, but they failed to protect it. Columbus went up twice, and the Avs scratched back twice. However, when Columbus went up again with just a minute left in the game, that was it for Colorado. The Jackets won 4-3.

In the second game of the series, the Avalanche dominated Columbus. Not only did goalie Semyon Varlamov own the Columbus shooters, stopping all 44 of their shots, the Avs’ shooters earned four goals. In fact, the first two were power play tallies, and that was pretty sweet. Avs won 4-0.

Colorado Avalanche vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Speaking of that year-ending game, it was against the Flyers. In fact, the game went to overtime, and it was center Ryan O’Reilly that got the game winner with under 20 seconds left. The New Year’s Eve Flyers game saw the Avs trade leads with Philadelphia. In that game, rookie forward Borna Rendulic also scored his first-ever NHL goal:

The Avalanche won that game 4-3 in overtime.

The other game actually came before New Year’s Eve — in November, actually. That’s when the Avs were still struggling so much, and it showed when Philadelphia had a 4-0 lead by the end of the second period. It looked to be a blowout. The Avalanche rallied in the third, but they were just discovering that playing just one period of hockey isn’t enough. Four goals is a lot to expect in one period, and the Avs lost 4-3.


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These Metro Division splits highlight the inconsistencies of the Colorado Avalanche season. The Avalanche could score big, as evidenced by the 4-0 and 5-0 games against the Blue Jackets and Islanders respectively. The Avalanche could also win one-goal games, as they did in the overtime and shootout against the Flyers and Rangers respectively.

However, the Avalanche took off periods. They lost one-goal games. And they failed to win big games when their season was on the line. Those inconsistencies are what ultimately cost them a shot at the playoffs.


The Colorado Avalanche need to find their groove faster. Going 12-1 at the beginning of the season may not be essential, but winning more than three games in October is. The Avalanche play a more Eastern Conference style of hockey based on speed and scoring — that has to come out as it did against the Jackets and Islanders. And leading shooters such as Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene can’t score significant slumps at the same time.

The Colorado Avalanche season hinged on a lot of one-goal games. That’s the way of the NHL now, and it’s certainly the style in the tight-checking Western Conference. The Avalanche have it in them to be victorious in those battles — but not when they take periods off. Once Colorado plays their game more consistently, those one-goal games are more likely to go their way. That bodes well for the upcoming Colorado Avalanche season.

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