Colorado Avalanche Lose a Nail Biter to a Great Tampa Bay Team

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 24: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) skates ahead of Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi (5) during a regular season game between the Colorado Avalanche and the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning on October 24, 2018 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO. (Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 24: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) skates ahead of Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi (5) during a regular season game between the Colorado Avalanche and the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning on October 24, 2018 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO. (Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The Colorado Avalanche fought hard but lost a very close game to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Colorado Avalanche lost a really solid game to a really good team, a perennial Stanley Cup-contending team. And they didn’t allow 33 shots in one period (I kind of thought they might, knowing them) like the Chicago Blackhawks did.

Instead, the Avalanche held the Tampa Bay Lightning to 24 shots total while getting 22 shots of their own. Unfortunately, only two shots got past the rock-solid Russian goalies on ice, and only one of them counted. (More on that in a moment.)

Before we get into what I thought were the keys to the game — and a very special rant — let’s celebrate a couple of Semyon Varlamov‘s spectacular saves.

Here’s a pad save on Bolts skater J.T. Miller:

And here is Varlamov getting some help from

Alexander Kerfoot

:

And here is

Gabriel Bourque

accessing his inner goalie — luckily Varlamov was there to back

him

up:

So, let’s look at the keys to the game.

Home Cooking

The Colorado Avalanche are a fine team at home. However, the Tampa Bay Lightning are a fine team anywhere. As noted above, they’re perennial Cup contenders.

Pepsi Center was rocking last night. Even the NBCSN announcers — because this was a nationally-televised game — commented that hockey was back in the big town of Denver, judging by the noise in Pepsi Center.

Colorado played a tight game. In no way did they look overwhelmed by the visiting team. Sure, just like when teams like the Washington Capitols play against the Avs, you see some of the elite details that make them great and the Avs still just good. But Colorado is learning.

Dynamic Duos (and Trios!)

The Colorado Avalanche were (essentially) shut out, so all scoring streaks ended. The top line accounted for seven shots on goal of the 22 the Avs recorded.

The Avalanche had one disallowed goal — and, yes, we’re all super-frustrated with this rule. Here’s the disallowed goal:

Captain Gabriel Landeskog scored the goal. However, the Bolts challenged, and it was determined that Tyson Jost‘s skate blade was in the air a nano-second before the puck fully crossed the blueline. He wasn’t even involved in the play, but that’s the rule.

Moving on. The next topic in my preview post was record shooting, but I already covered that — there were only a total of 46 shots in the entire game between the two teams. No 33-shot periods in this one.

So, on to the special rant.

Tyson. Jost. Rant

You’d think I learned my lesson from Roypocalypse, that I don’t have the right words here or on Twitter to affect the outcome of what happens in the hockey world. But, hey, if we all did that, where would be the fun in being a hockey fan?

I joked on social media a while back that if Avs fans turned on Tyson Jost the way they did on Matt Duchene, there would be hell to pay. Avs Nation replied with, “Hold my beer.”

Tyson Jost’s skate was the one that lifted off the ice a fraction of a second too soon. Tyson Jost has looked unconfident, tentative with the puck.  Tyson Jost is struggling.

More from Analysis

And I suspect that this team, with all its “We’re letting the youngsters grow up together” mentality are going to continue to let the #10-overall from 2016 struggle until they find the rationale to trade him.

Because Jost is lacking confidence. And that seems to be something the current inception of the front offices and the coaching staff can’t handle. If a player is slacking or is slightly too winded after skating, those are tangibles this administration can solve. A lack of confidence? Too bad, so sad, on to the next prospect.

I say that thinking of Matt Duchene. I say that thinking of Nail Yakupov. I say that thinking of Duchene in his Roy years and even Erik Johnson.

Because players struggle. Even Nathan MacKinnon had three years where he, a first-overall, failed to live up to expectations. He won the Calder, he disappeared for three, he challenged for the Hart.

I don’t trust this administration to take pains to properly develop a player the way Roy’s did. It shouldn’t be that way — Jared Bednar worked as a head coach at the major juniors and AHL levels — the highest levels of hockey he himself had played at. And Sakic has committed to his youth movement.

Yet I was sitting here thinking about a struggling Tyson Jost and where he might receive help from. I lay out some arguments here:

Related Story. Early Season Evaluation for Jost. light

However, I couldn’t think of a single struggling player from the last two year who received special guidance. Yet Roy worked specifically with Duchene and Johnson to help boost their confidence.

I can’t control the trajectory of Tyson Jost’s career. However, that doesn’t stop me from being pissed as hell that the team is refusing to develop him properly after they induced him to leave the prestigious hockey development program at the University of North Dakota. Where is his mentorship? Where is his changing of roles or his private video time with the coach? Because Roy’s administration provided that.

I know Tyson Jost is a talented and skilled player who’s driven and works incredibly hard. If the Avs management don’t get their heads out their, ah, seat cushions — and if Nathan MacKinnon doesn’t step up — the team may wantonly waste that resource.

Next. Grubauer Finding his Footing in Colorado. dark

Anyway, special rant over. The Colorado Avalanche next face the Ottawa Senators at home. Matt Duchene will be returning. You can guarantee I’ll have a lot to say about that.