The Colorado Avalanche started their road trip off in rough fashion — losing 4-1 to the Florida Panthers — but they finished in mediocre fashion, beating Tampa Bay, and playing a middling effort against the Carolina Hurricanes where they lost 3-2 in regulation.
Some notes from the games:
— Nathan MacKinnon continues to impress this season, no matter what line he plays on he provides a jump seconded to none on the team. Plus, he’s getting penalty kill time and he’s making good use of it as well.
— Matt Duchene continues to struggle. Hopefully Gabe Landeskog can help Dutchy get it going. But, I’ll link to the post-game presser that Patrick Roy gave after the Lighting game, and you can easily tell that Roy wants more from Duchene. Check out the whole video because it’s Roy at his best.
— Nate Guenin proved to be a serviceable should-never-be-in-the-lineup-kind-of-guy. Luckily, Patrick Roy gave Brandon Gormley another chance in last night’s game, yet his game did not stand out in any fashion. However, that’s better than Guenin’s glaring weaknesses on the ice.
— Semyon Varlamov got his game going, playing a fantastic game against the Lightning, and following up the next night with an above average performance against the Carolina Hurricanes. He gave the Colorado Avalanche a good chance to win that game.
These are just some of the most notable aspects of their play to consider over the past two games, but let’s discuss each game and the way they happened.
Colorado Avalanche Vs Tampa Bay Lightning
The Colorado Avalanche played a strong game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, only faltering near the end of the third period, when the Bolts put on a strong push in an attempt to tie the game up for extra time. Varly played excellent for the Avs though. Without his play the results would have been much different.
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There’s a new line combination in Colorado: Alex Tanguay – Nathan MacKinnon – Jarome Iginla — and they had a really good game against the Lightning, providing both goals in a 2-1 contest, with a total of 6 points, 12 shots, and a +6 rating. Patrick Roy reunited Tangs and Iggy and it benefited both of them. Also, MacKinnon looks like a good fit for this group, but I might consider slotting Dutchy with them to see if that will get him going. Nathan MacKinnon can play with anyone.
— The Avs finally competed for 60 minutes, even though they provided the Bolts with some golden opportunities in the third, they still won a one goal game.
— Semyon Varlamov looks to be back to form, stopping 34 out of 35 shots in the game.
— Nathan MacKinnon continues to roll, and that’s obviously a good thing. Hopefully he continues to find his groove and begins to define his role on this team with more precision and confidence.
— The power play is on a recent trend of uselessness,1 and it certainly showed in this game as the Colorado Avalanche were 0-6 on the PP. Also, the Bolts had at least 3 good scoring opportunities shorthanded.
— The penalty kill was not much better. The Avalanche were 3/4 on the penalty kill. Sure 75% is not bad, but following the performance they had on the PK against Florida, they should have killed them all.
— The Avs need to get more shots on net.
All in all, the game against the Bolts set the Colorado Avalanche up with some good momentum going into last night’s game, and they unfortunately made poor use of it, losing 3-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Colorado Avalanche Vs Carolina Hurricanes
The Colorado Avalanche played a mediocre game against the Hurricanes, starting with a 1-0 lead, but eventually they gave up 3 goals in a row to fall down 3-1 early in the third period. They played a somewhat compelling third period late, but other than that they followed the same trends of the early season and came out with a rather effortless third period again.
— Nathan MacKinnon was again fancy, adding to his point total with another assist on the first goal. He also looked good defensively, and he seems to provide jump to every line he plays on. Unfortunately his play alone is not enough to provide the difference.
— Carl Soderberg finally got on the goal sheet, but it was late in the game with a pulled goaltender and only made the game seem a little closer than it actually was.
— Alex Tanguay gets another goal in back-to-back games, and it seems like playing with Jarome Iginla is rejuvenating his early season.
— The power play was held scoreless again, and now the Colorado Avalanche are on a bad streak with the extra man.
— The penalty kill was again bad with a 75% efficiency going 3/4.
— Semyon Varlamov could have had a better game, but the this team’s winning ability cannot rest solely on his shoulders.
Unfortunately, the Colorado Avalanche were unable to come up with a win last night, which would have really helped the team get back on track to making a statement in the tough Central Division.
The Colorado Avalanche did not have the best road trip, but there’s certainly a lot of positives to take away from the back-to-back games. Such as the stellar play of Nathan MacKinnon and his linemates, and the fact that Semyon Varlamov seems to be getting back on track. Also, the Colorado Avalanche are playing well 5-5.
However, there are a lot of negatives as well. At the forefront is their special teams play, particularly their ability to get things going on the powerplay. They had a wealth of opportunities on the power play in all three games and were unable to make any impact with the extra man.
The will to win seems to be coming together, but this team still seems fragile and easy to collapse when the pressure comes on.
What’s on Tap
The San Jose Sharks come to town to face the Colorado Avalanche on home ice. The Avs have not played well on home ice so far this season, and they need a win tomorrow in a big way. If they hope to stay in the race for the playoffs then they need to string some wins together because the Central Division is starting to run away from them. There is just too much talent in the division for them to take time finding wins.
Hopefully the Colorado Avalanche can turn things around in tomorrow’s matinee against the Sharks.
What do you think Avs Nation? Is there any way for this team to turn around their season? Who is going to step up to make it so? As always, your opinion is always valued so voice it in the comments!