Colorado Avalanche Season in Review: Metropolitan Division


The Colorado Avalanche season in review continues with a look at how the team fared against the Metropolitan Division. Colorado did better against the Atlantic Division, but the Avalanche still went 8-6-2 against the Metro Division and 17-10-5 against the Eastern Conference as a whole.

Last week, we looked at Metropolitan Division splits. This week we’re going to look at the other four games and what lessons the team can take from that aspect of the Colorado Avalanche season.

Colorado Avalanche vs New Jersey Devils

The Colorado Avalanche proved they can win one-goal games in the series against the New Jersey Devils. Colorado won in New Jersey 3-2 and at home 2-1.

The game in New Jersey showed the Colorado Avalanche’s resiliency. The team went down 2-1 early, tied, then went down by one again in the third. However, defenseman Erik Johnson showed off his strength and determination by skating hard to the net and finding a way to tie the game midway through the third period. The big guns — Matt Duchene from Tyson Barrie and Alex Tanguay — combined for the game-winning goal late in the third.

The other one-goal game that the Avalanche won against New Jersey went all the way to the shootout. The only scoring came in the second period, first by Avalanche winger Jarome Iginla and then New Jersey’s Andy Green. In the shootout, the Avalanche showed off their finesse, with center Ryan O’Reilly scoring on his signature wide-skating shot. Iginla was the hero, though, scoring the game-winning shootout goal.

Colorado Avalanche vs Carolina Hurricanes

Oct 25, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing

Gabriel Landeskog

(92) reaches for the puck as Carolina Hurricanes goalie

Justin Peters

(35) and defenseman

Justin Faulk

(27) look on in the second period at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Technically the series against the Carolina Hurricanes was another split for the Colorado Avalanche season. However, Carolina had to take their home game all the way to the shootout for the 3-2 win, so the Avalanche actually got three points out of the series.

The home win came first, back in that tough November. Indeed, while it was a one-goal win for the Avalanche, the game also showcased the issue Colorado had with playing a full 60 minutes. Colorado went down 2-0 in the first five minutes, and entered the first intermission down 3-1. However, starting with Erik Johnson’s second period goal, it was all Avalanche, all the time with a last-minute goal by Zach Redmond sealing the 4-3 win.

The game in Carolina was equally as frustrating. By the end of the second period, the Avalanche were down 2-0 and looking sluggish — while allowing rookie goalie Calvin Pickard to get shelled with shots. Colorado finally showed up in the third period and tied the game. They held on through the overtime, but they couldn’t seal the win in the shootout.

Colorado Avalanche vs Washington Capitals

This was one series in which the Colorado Avalanche couldn’t manage a win. Both losses were one-goal games — clear evidence of the team’s struggle with those types of contests.

The series started at home for the Avalanche. The two teams traded goals twice. However, try as they might, Colorado couldn’t contain superstar scorer Alex Ovechkin. He scored late in the third period, and the Avalanche were unable to recover despite a late rally. They lost 3-2. This was also the game that saw Avs veteran Alex Tanguay take an Ovechkin slap shot to the face, breaking a bone and taking him out for a couple games.

The January game was a better showing for the Avalanche. Tanguay even scored a power play goal, which was a relief for a team struggling with the man advantage. However, goalie Semyon Varlamov finally let his frustration show and took a bad penalty  late in the second. That was all Ovechkin needed, and his power play goal was the game winner. Avs lost 2-1.

Colorado Avalanche vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Colorado Avalanche center

Nathan MacKinnon

(29,center) is congratulated for his goal by left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92) and center Ryan O’Reilly (90) past Pittsburgh Penguins goalie

Marc-Andre Fleury

(29) in the second period at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The series with the Pittsburgh Penguins was similar to the one with the Carolina Hurricanes in that the Avalanche won one outright and took the other to overtime.

The December game in Pittsburgh was rough, especially for goalie Calvin Pickard. He had to face a ridiculous 48 shots from the Penguins’ talented shooters. He saved them all in regulation, but halfway through the overtime the Penguins came on strong. Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury got a star for the game from for the shutout, but Pickard’s performance was a lot more impressive in the 1-0 loss.

In March, the Colorado Avalanche had their new system in place, which was based on taking more shots on goal. That didn’t happen in their 3-1 win over the Penguins at home. Nonetheless, Jarome Iginla got a power play goal, Nathan MacKinnon scored the game winner against his good buddy’s team (Sidney Crosby), and Gabriel Landeskog put the nail in the coffin with his third period goal. The Avalanche won 3-1.


The Colorado Avalanche season was lost because of inability to score on the power play, lack of playing 60 minutes and difficulty winning one-goal games. The series against the Metropolitan Division teams proved the Avalanche could occasionally score on the power play and take one-goal games, even when coming from behind. However, the latter was often because the team took shifts and even whole periods off.


The Avalanche are always going to be a team based on offense, which means the goalie is going to get shelled. That means the forwards need to shell opponent goalies, and the defense needs to chip in. When they Avalanche played this style, they won more often than not. Some games, like the ones against the Washington Capitals, are tough — some teams are just better. However, both Calvin Pickard and Semyon Varlamov showed themselves the equal to stopping high end talent such as Pittsburgh’s Sid Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

It’s pretty simple — score at least one more goal than the opponent, and you win the hockey game.

Next: Avs Star of the Week: Brad Stuart

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