Colorado Avalanche: Win vs Stars the Perfect Response from Coach, Players


The Colorado Avalanche has played two of their 82 games of the 2015-16 season. So far, we had a few great and a few terrible periods, spread out over both games. Overall, it can be said that the season opener against the Minnesota Wild had a terrible ending, but the Avs made up for it against the Dallas Stars.

After a great first period, things just started to go wrong against the Wild. There were several different issues that needed to be worked on. Luckily, the Avalanche did just that, despite going into the second game without a single change to the lineup. From a 5-4 loss to a 6-3 win — the perfect response.

Play for 60 Minutes

Against Minnesota, the Avalanche had an outstanding first period. They scored three unanswered goals, led 11-9 in shots, punished their opponents physically and didn’t leave the Wild much of a chance. The second period was still okay, but not as good anymore. What followed was the same old garbage we had to witness many times last season.

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Terrible turnovers and sloppy defensive play led to four Wild goals within five minutes and seven seconds. To be fair, if the Avalanche had been behind 3-1 after two periods, we all would have wanted them to turn it around as well. It’s what happens in sports and while it doesn’t make anyone associated with the losing team happy, games do get turned around all the time. In this case, however, it really wasn’t necessary.

The Colorado Avalanche only played good hockey for 40 minutes, and all of a sudden, nothing seemed to work anymore. I can’t tell you what the issue was, but the third-period team wasn’t the same we watched for the first 40 minutes. As said, it was due to sloppy defensive play and unnecessary turnovers, while failing to work anything on offense. The reason was not that the Wild suddenly got much better — they didn’t play anywhere near the Avalanche’s first-period level.

Against the Stars, the Avs were in the opposite situation. After 30 minutes, the score was 3-1 for Dallas. This time, Colorado fought until the end and turned it around. Five unanswered goals in 30 minutes — the perfect response after the terrible loss against Minnesota. That should give a lot of confidence, and hopefully the team will keep pushing until the end when they have a comfortable lead next time.

The Right Coaching Decisions

Coach Roy understandably earned a lot of criticism before and after the season opener. He paired Nate Guenin with Tyson Barrie again, even though Guenin is arguably the worst player on the Avalanche roster. Then, Nick Holden got a team-high 22:34 of ice time, the top pairing of Erik Johnson and Francois Beauchemin wasn’t matched up with the Wild’s top line anymore, Mikko Rantanen and Borna Rendulic got only one shift in the final period and Cody McLeod was chosen as the extra attacker. So, let’s just say, there were a few potential sources of criticism.

Heading into the second game, Roy said he wasn’t going to change the lineup, and he stayed true to his word. Reason enough for some more pissed-off reactions by fans on social media. Again, that’s understandable.

Not too surprisingly, the third forward line and D-pairing didn’t work against the Stars either. This time, however, Roy reacted differently. He moved Nikita Zadorov up to the second pairing, where he looked more than solid alongside Barrie. Guenin was then paired with Holden, and the two looked surprisingly good together as well. Furthermore, the third line was split up this time, by putting Rantanen on a line with Matt Duchene and Jarome Iginla for a few shifts. Rendulic was basically benched again, but that may change for the next game.

Check out the shift charts from

Shift chart Dallas Stars @ Colorado Avalanche from

Shift chart Dallas Stars @ Colorado Avalanche from

Changes Heading into Game 3

Next up are the Boston Bruins who are coming to Pepsi Center on Wednesday. The team has many new players that will need some time to develop chemistry. However, it wasn’t hard to see that a few things didn’t work the way they’re supposed to. Heres what Roy should change heading into Game 3.

  1. Pair Zadorov with Barrie.
  2. Scratch Guenin for Gormley. If Roy really wants another veteran in the lineup, Stuart may be a better option than Guenin.
  3. Scratch Rendulic for Grigorenko. Rendulic hasn’t been convincing so far, and Roy benches him for the second half of the game anyway.
  4. Find a solution for the third line and D-pairing. This is basically a combination of 2. and 3. because substituting Rendulic and Guenin may be a great first step here.

Those four points are definitely no guarantee for a win, but they could give the Avalanche much better chances. For now, we can be happy that Colorado had the perfect response for a terrible first game.

Next: Avs 3 Stars of Week 1

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