Colorado Avalanche: Musings after the Loss in Winnipeg

WINNIPEG, MB - FEBRUARY 3: Tyson Barrie /

The Colorado Avalanche played a lethargic game against the big, heavy Winnipeg Jets, thus getting shut out for only the second time this season.

The Colorado Avalanche’s loss against the Central Division rival Winnipeg Jets was a step back for the team.

It’s not just that they were shut out. It also isn’t just that they fell back out of a playoff spot again. And it’s not even that it was the (hated) Minnesota Wild who leap-frogged them by finally figuring out how to beat freaking Las Vegas. No, it’s the style of game the Avalanche played last night.

Their game was sloppy. They were skating around like they didn’t know where to find each other. Passes got disrupted left and right. There were pockets of good play, but not anywhere near enough when you’re playing against a division rival — the team that leads the division, no less.

Coach Jared Bednar liked certain pockets of the first half of the game but conceded that they missed the net on a couple of their best chances. He added in his post-game presser, “We had a few good opportunities to score some goals but most of them, to be honest, we didn’t even make them make a save.”

He went on to describe the second half of the game thus:

"“I thought the final 30 minutes of the game our execution was poor. We were passing into guys skates and turning the puck over and that led to them creating a bunch of really good scoring chances in the second period, and eventually they took over the game…  I just think that we weren’t sharp with the puck, and we weren’t skating well enough.”"

He didn’t think it was a question or will or competitiveness, just execution.

Rookie Alexander Kerfoot had this to say about their play:

"“I thought we battled hard at times. I think we were a little bit stubborn with the puck at times… Especially in the neutral zone — I think we were a little too cute at times.”"

Both Bednar and Kerfoot gave accurate descriptions of what went on in that game — excruciatingly accurate.

The reason I call it excruciatingly accurate is that this type of play is too much what we’ve seen from this team. They make two steps forward, one step back. This is reminiscent of that game against the Minnesota Wild game on March 26, 2016. That was the one when they were fighting the Wild for a playoff spot.

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Their play was also reminiscent of so many of last year’s games when they just gave up. This game also reminded me of their play in New Jersey — just so discombobulated.

The Winnipeg Jets are who the Avs were striving to be three years ago — big, skilled players with some speed. They’re a heavy team, and they play a heavy game. The Colorado Avalanche aren’t that kind of team anymore — they’re young and fleet of foot with a game based more on agility than size.

Yet the biggest hit of the night didn’t come from the big guys they do have, Erik Johnson and Nikita Zadorov. (The latter was the victim of a big hit that almost took him out of the game.) It didn’t even come from heavy hitter Blake Comeau.

The biggest hit of the night the Avalanche effected came from little rookie Tyson Jost who checked a big Jet into the boards. Granted, Jost just bounced off of the Jet, but at least he tried. The second best hit was a Zadorov special effected on the even smaller rookie, Alexander Kerfoot. He got knocked down by one Jet, got up ready to check him… only to get knocked down by another Jet.

Next: Who Will Step up for MacKinnon?

I knew the Colorado Avalanche were going to be good the fame directly after our star, Nathan MacKinnon, went out with an injury. They pulled together and seemed to have a reason to battle hard. Unfortunately, I’m also not surprised that they fell apart in last night’s game. Two steps forward, one step back has long been their progression.

The Avs return to play at home on Tuesday. They dominate at home and sputter on the road — that makes Tuesday’s game a must-win for the team.