Colorado Avalanche Playing Undisciplined Hockey

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 17: Viktor Arvidsson
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 17: Viktor Arvidsson /

The Colorado Avalanche have lost two in a row to drop down to 4-3-0 by playing sloppy hockey.

The Colorado Avalanche are playing undisciplined. The team came out strong in their game against the New York Rangers, winning by playing tight.

The first example of their sloppy play came against the New Jersey Devils. They were all over the place. They made sloppy passes. They got a huge amount of shots on goal — 41 — but the Devils got 39 and took the game. And the Avs gave up three goals in four penalty kills, which is awful.

Colorado played tighter hockey in their home and home against the Boston Bruins, winning both. On this road trip, though, it’ was all undisciplined all the time.

Well, they had a good third period against the Dallas Stars, but it was too little, too late. They had gone into that period down 2-0, and even Matt Duchene‘s goal was enough to get them back in the game.

They had 11 giveaways in the game against Dallas, five more than the Stars. That’s not a ton, but this was also a game that saw Colorado take fewer shots and win fewer faceoffs. They also took four more minutes of penalties, often at key times.

All of that adds up, especially when you’re playing against a hungry team like the Dallas Stars. To make matters worse, Dallas is a fellow Central Division team.

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The game against the Nashville Predators, another Central Divison team, was just messy. The teams seemed to take the first period to size each other up. There weren’t a lot of scoring chances as both teams seemed to clog up the neutral zone.

Come the second period, play opened up. This should be a good thing for the Colorado Avalanche. They’ve built this team to be fast and skilled, a team of puck-movers with high-end stick skills.

Well, that doesn’t work when you go up against a disciplined defensive team like the Nashville Predators. The Avs seemed to start pressing. As they pressed, they got undisciplined.

Not only did passes get sloppy again, but they started making stupid plays. Defensemen were pinching in at the wrong time — one even led to a four-on-one that, naturally, the Predators scored on:

The Predators scored four unanswered goals through the second half of the second and into the third. Here’s another example of a defensive breakdown:

You got to prevent that pass.

By the time Nail Yakupov took a penalty with just over two minutes left in the game, Colorado was down 4-1 and hadn’t tightened a single thing. In other words, it didn’t really didn’t matter.

Colorado dropped down to that 4-3-0 with that sloppy game. To be honest, that’s more the record they’ve earned than the 4-1-0 they had going into this recent road trip.

As analyst Mark Rycroft  observed in the post-game show, they were making all the mistakes of old, ghosts of last year. “It was dang near every guy except [Semyon Varlamov].” Across the board, players made mistake after mistake.

Captain Gabriel Landeskog was a little more pointed in his post-game presser: “Defensive breakdowns, they get behind us, and we’re in trouble.”

Next: Anatomy of Matt Duchene's Goal

The Colorado Avalanche have returned to Denver. They face another Central Division rival in the St. Louis Blues on Thursday. It’s at home. Hopefully the Colorado Avalanche will watch some video and practice avoiding some of these costly mistakes.