The Colorado Avalanche lost two games in a row by blowing a third-period lead. Alternate captain Erik Johnson doesn’t like the trend.
The Colorado Avalanche have now dropped two games in a row in which they were leading in the third period.
In the game against the Carolina Hurricanes, they were leading 1-0 with three minutes to go. They let Carolina score three unanswered goals (the last an empty-netter) to win the game.
Against the Blackhawks, they were leading 3-1 halfway through the third period before allowing Chicago to score four unanswered goals (the last an empty-netter) to win the game.
Alternate captain Erik Johnson, just back in his second game after missing seven with an upper body injury, talked about both games in his post-practice presser.
The overall feeling of his interview is one of frustration because the team played very well for the majority of the game. As he put it, they simply “pissed away” the lead in the last few minutes.
He does allude to the fact that the team is still young, though not as young as they were a couple years ago when they were suiting up four rookies most night. Their average player age now is 26.8, which isn’t all that young in a youth-dominated NHL.
Johnson himself is one of the elder statesmen of the league. So, after alluding to the youth factor, he does add, “But we know how to win now. I think it’s something you’ve got to know how to finish off when you have that opportunity ahead of you.”
For the most part, Johnson was bothered by losing the points:
"“That’s four points that we let slip away right before the break that we can’t let it happen, we are better than that for sure.”"
Ironically, as the Avs get healthier, the worse some of their play gets. Maybe some players are over-relying on the stars to carry the game.
Meanwhile, one of said stars, our very own captain Gabriel Landeskog, tried to carry the game in a different way. He fought Dennis Gilbert at about the midway point of the game:
Hey, I’m never going to turn my nose up at our captain laying it all on the line for the team. However… I don’t know that we came out the better on that fight.
The Colorado Avalanche’s strong start to the season has kept them from ever dropping out of the playoff race. The lowest they’ve dropped is first wild card spot, and they didn’t stay there long.
However, as our alternate captain Erik Johnson points out, good teams find ways to win. The Avs aren’t just expecting to make the plaoyoffs, they’re expecting to have a deep run.
You have to play disciplined if you want to be that kind of team. Luckily, the Avs do still have some time to right the ship before it’s pre-playoffs.