Colorado Avalanche: Handouts, Standouts, and Blandouts

Jan 16, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Colorado Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard (31) makes a pad save against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period at Nationwide Arena. Columbus won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 16, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Colorado Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard (31) makes a pad save against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the third period at Nationwide Arena. Columbus won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports /

The Colorado Avalanche lost a tough one against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

That’s a hard one to talk about, a real heartbreaking loss last night on a last second goal. I won’t replay how it happened because it’s just too tough to watch again.

So, I’m starting a new series on MHS. Instead of doing general game recaps, I’ll give you a quick breakdown of how it shook out and then drop into player handouts, standouts, and blandouts of the game.

The blandouts won’t be subjected to any brutality in script, they will normally just be the mediocrity of players on the ice, as bland implies. Although, sometimes there will be the outlier that deserves a little criticism.

Handouts will be receiving rewards like gold stars and cookies, hypothetical online versions of gold stars and cookies (my exact textual writing of said reward) of course.

Finally, standouts will be standouts, the players that stood out during the game, ya dig?

Alright, now you know the rules, shall we begin?

First Period

The first broke down early for the Colorado Avalanche. They gave a goal up in the first 58 seconds of the game to Brandon Dubinsky. But, they were able to shut the door from there and hold the Blue Jackets to just five shots in the period.

Nonetheless, the score went into intermission 1-0 Columbus.

Second Period

The Avalanche showed up in the second period scoring six minutes into the game after a torrid pace set on the prior shifts leading up to the goal.

The Colorado Avalanche earned the momentum going into the second intermission, and should have been able to walk away with a win.

Third Period

Well, the Avs lost another game in the third period without points, but they deserved better with this loss.

The Avalanche outshot the Blue Jackets 11-3 in the third period up until about the three minute mark, but then the Blue Jackets started firing bullets to the net and the shot total ended 11-10 in Colorado’s advantage during the third.

I was pleased with the Avalanche play in the third until about three minutes left when they seemed to just sit back for overtime and see if they could make it there instead of pushing the play.

More From Mile High Sticking: The Meaning of Recent Avalanche Defensive Moves

Well, they paid the price by sitting back when Jack Johnson scored a fluky goal and gave the Blue Jackets the lead with just over one minute remaining.

However, the goal should have never happened, and we’ll get to that in a bit (Zadorov) after we shake out the handouts, standouts, and blandouts.


— Chris Wagner gets a handout for his play last night, a shiny gold star because he scores goals when he plays. He has four career NHL points in 35 games. They’re all goals, and they have all come with the Avalanche in just 15 games.

— Chris Bigras also deserves a sticker for his play last night. He was jumping at the right time, and made a great steal at center ice to set up Chris Wagner’s goal.

— Finally, Joonas Korpisalo deserves a jar full of cookies too because he played real well for Columbus, especially in the second and third periods. He is certainly the reason the Blue Jackets won last night.

These are the players that deserve some rewards for their play last night, but next are the players that made their presence known in a positive way throughout the game.


— Calvin Pickard stood out, and particularly late in the third period. He kept the Avalanche in the game when the Blue Jackets were pressing, and the Avs only missed out on points because of a strange goal that Picks had no chance on.

— Jarome Iginla had a good night last night. He was hitting, fore-checking with tenacity, and made a great pass to Chris Wagner for a clutch game-tying goal. The third-line was the best line last night, and hopefully they continue to hit and play like that.

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— Tyson Barrie gets the final standout nod with his play last night. He was stick-handling with poise behind his own net, and made some great passes up the ice to get the Avs jumping. He also had some good opportunities on the power-play, but was unable to finish.

There’s your standouts, the players that gave a good effort and played well enough to be noticeable in a good manner, but the following players are the blandouts, and one is in particular trouble with last night’s rating.


— Nathan MacKinnon was just kind of meh last night, he had a lot of speed, but he wasn’t using it well as he gave up the puck on errant passes a few times after entering the zone with speed. He needs to get going for this team to jump in the playoff race with confidence.

— Another underwhelming performance by Gabe Landeskog has him standing out in the wrong way. He made it tough for that second line to hold possession when they were in the offensive zone, and caused a couple icings at pivotal moments.

— Finally, Nikita Zadorov gets the burn for his effort last night because he was not very good at all for most of the game. He had dismal gap control on the first goal by Columbus, even though Nick Holden (Holden had a good game aside from that goal) was somewhat responsible for his play on the man in front of the net.

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Next, he made a bad give away which ended up in a grade-a scoring chance for Columbus shortly after that first goal. Plus, he was making bad passes to clear the zone all night and was responsible for the final Columbus goal with his inability to clear the zone.

If he wants to earn a spot on this NHL roster he didn’t make a good case for it last night, especially not with how well Chris Bigras played.

What’s On Tap

The Colorado Avalanche play the Winnipeg Jets tonight in another Division game of importance.

This division is tough, and it’s difficult to keep a playoff spot in the Western Conference in general. Nashville, Vancouver, and Winnipeg are all coming, amongst a whole bunch of other close nippers-at-the-heel.

Next: A Tale of Two Colorado Avalanche Teams

So, this game against Winnipeg strikes lightning of the utmost importance for our Colorado Avalanche team. Puck drop is at 6:00 PM Mountain time.

What are we thinking Avs fans? That was a tough loss, is the play of the Avs in the final three minutes to blame? Will Zadorov stick around if he continues to play like that? Let us know in the comments!