Colorado Avalanche Show their Immaturity in Las Vegas Loss

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 26: Tomas Nosek
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 26: Tomas Nosek /
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The Colorado Avalanche showed what a green team they still are in their loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

More from Mile High Sticking

The Colorado Avalanche are the youngest team in the NHL. The downside of that was in evidence tonight in Las Vegas.

Colorado has been in a tight race to make the playoffs for about a month. They’ve been bouncing around the first and second wild card spots for that time with Calgary, Dallas, Los Angeles and Anaheim rotating around them.

As of right now, the Avalanche are still in the second wild card spot. Their position is tenuous, though. They have 90 points with six games left. St. Louis has 89 points and a game in hand. So, the Avs aren’t as in control of their destiny as they were before tonight’s game in Las Vegas. St. Louis plays tomorrow, and could bump them out of the last wild card spot with a win.

In other words, tonight’s game was ultra-important. And for the first two periods, the players played like the game was ultra-important. They were the better team for more than the first half of the game.

Unfortunately, the Golden Knights got a couple lucky bounces and some insane goal tending from Marc-Andre Fleury, which allowed them to go into the second intermission up 2-1.

That second intermission was pivotal. The Knights had scored twice on the power play. But the Avs had outshot Vegas 25-15 in those two periods. Colorado needed to use that second intermission to collect their emotions. They needed to come out in the third and play their game no matter what.

Well, in a matter of speaking, they did. The Colorado Avalanche played their sloppiest game. Their defense broke down, allowing the Knights to score early on in the period. That deflated them further, so that they spent the rest of the period running around — it was classic Avalanche bad hockey.

No one except goalie Semyon Varlamov looked good — and he looked good, indeed, as he faced the same amount of shots in the third (15) as he had in the first two.

Chalk it up to youth. It wasn’t just the rookies, but chalk it up to a “young team growing up together.” They couldn’t get control of their emotions and play a tight game of hockey to the bitter end.

That’s a tough skill to develop. However, that skill of playing your best game in the face of adversity is what makes a playoff team. In fact, it’s what makes a playoff team actual Stanley Cup contenders.

So, the Avs showed some immaturity in Vegas. A good thing about their youth is its potential for bouncing back. This season, the Avalanche youth have done a good job of answering a bad game with good play in the next one.

Next: Playoffs Depend on Cali Road Trip

The Colorado Avalanche return home for an exceedingly important home stand against the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks. They could well be outside looking in by the time they face Philly on Wednesday. However, if they rely on the resiliency of youth instead of its immaturity, they don’t need to stay on the outside.