The Colorado Avalanche enter the Christmas break losing three out of four games, two of them at home, to inferior opponents.
The Colorado Avalanche are not in a good position.
Standings-wise, they’re just fine. Thanks to a strong October and some good stretches here and there through November and December, the Avs still control the third position in the Central Division. They can also thank the Dallas Stars and (hated) Minnesota Wild for not being good enough, but let’s not focus on that.
Despite their place in the standings, the Avalanche are not in a good position. They just lost three games against inferior teams. If you want to be considered a good team, you have to be ruthless against so-called inferior opponents.
Colorado, as has been true for a few years now, lacks enough killer instinct. I still maintain that they should become the Tampa Bay Lightning when they grow up, a team that knows how to exploit opponents’ weaknesses.
Let’s look at how last night’s game played out. Then, in the spirit of the holiday season, we’ll focus on some positives for other posts.
Is that what happened to the Colorado Avalanche’s first 40 minutes? Because the team didn’t show up to play until the third period.
Was fatigue a factor, or did the Avs just pull their usual trick of only playing X amount of minutes in any give game? All in all, the players were too casual with their plays, especially the stars.
When you’re a leader on the team, you have to take over games when necessary. Instead, in last night’s game, it was the second line and a rookie goalie (Pavel Francouz) who took over the game as best they could.
Playing Down to Opponents
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Why do the Colorado Avalanche do this? Play down to opponents?
Now, I don’t have a killer instinct, so I feel bad when a team is struggling, even when it’s not the Avs. But that’s reason 1,048 for why I’m not a professional athlete. When you are a professional athlete, you should be ruthless in your pursuit of victory.
A case in point is the Avalanche’s top line. They have proven all season that they’re capable of stealing games. Especially Nathan MacKinnon. Well, when you’re playing a team that, at the 30-something mark, has only won six games at home, you should move in for the kill.
Instead, the Avs handed Arizona win #7 at home. Frustrating.
Ah, well, Semyon Varlamov is sick. I’d like to think he’s been battling illness since throwing a shutout against the Red Wings in Detroit 10 games ago. However, that’s probably a stretch.
Philipp Grubauer, suddenly getting the back-to-back start after warming the bench a lot lately, did not perform well.
Enter Pavel Francouz, who made his NHL debut in relief of Grubauer in the second period. The Czech goalie made his NHL debut last night. He woke up a Colorado Eagle and finished the night a Colorado Avalanche. I wish I could say he got the win, but, obviously, we already know he did not. What stinks is that he actually got credited with the loss because Goal #5 was the game-winner, and that’s the only goal Francouz allowed in.
Not fair, but welcome to the NHL, I guess. However, he did show a lot of promise. Here’s an example of his stoning a straight breakaway:
He also made a flurry of saves later in the period that, frankly, he had no business stopping. But he did. So, on the bright side, at least we can feel confident in our number-three goalie if we have to rely on him in the future.
The Colorado Avalanche will now have a break until after the Christmas holiday. Hopefully they can “rest and reset.” No one is saying this team is Cup contenders yet — but we do expect a reasonable facsimile of their best game most nights. We’d like them to get back to that business.