The Colorado Avalanche indulged in some similar mistakes in their game against the LA Kings, who won their first of the season last night.
The Colorado Avalanche faced the rebuilding LA Kings in a two-game series. Unfortunately, they only skated away with a 1-1 record for two points. That should have been an easy four-point trip.
That’s what the Avs must have thought anyway. While they showed dominant stretches, they made the same cardinal sin in both games: They let the Kings off the ropes.
In both games, the Avalanche took the lead in the first period. In the first game of the series, the scored a goal in the first period and two in the second. Up 3-0 going into the third, they seemed to think they didn’t have to play NHL-level hockey anymore.
Well, any team in the league is made up of at least a few good players and maybe some good systems. In this case, the Kings have both Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe. Both of them were active enough in the third period that they put the Kings back in the game. Colorado managed a 3-2 win, but they played a lot of the third period looking like they were trying to catch up to a slower Kings team.
In yesterday’s game, the Avs went up two goals in the first period. They didn’t exactly let up on the gas so much as take a couple of bad penalties — yeah, sorry, Tyson, that wasn’t a good penalty. The newbie, Greg Pateryn (why was he even in the game with Erik Johnson healthy?!) took another penalty 39 seconds later. That put the Kings on a 5-on-3 for a good, long stretch. Aging defenseman Drew Doughty cut the lead in half, and youngster Gabriel Vilardi tied the game.
The third period didn’t see the Avs play like a team that was facing a loss. LA played like they wanted to win, and win they did thanks to Kempe again. Kopitar earned two assists on the night as the Kings won 4-2.
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Colorado should have won that game. Those two penalties shouldn’t have ended their scoring. Yes, LA still employs Jonathan Quick, who played last night. And, yes, Colorado had their third-string goalie in with Pavel Francouz out with an injury. And, yes, Andre Burakovsky was also out with an injury.
Well, it was some of the same old mistakes that cost them. Lack of killer instinct, which let the Kings get back into both games, is one of them. Defensive errors were another one — and that does really beg the question of why our remaining veteran, the captain of the blueline, wasn’t in the lineup. Not ok. That one’s on the coaching staff, another same ol’ mistake situation.
Do we need to panic? Of course not. The Avalanche are only four games into their new season. They still have 50 games to play, starting tonight. However, four games into this season, when every point counts because it’s shortened, Colorado shouldn’t be playing .500 hockey. You could expect them to split the St. Louis series. They should have beat the Kings both times, though.
Well, the Colorado Avalanche will have to have especially short memories. They’re continuing their road trip with a game against the Anaheim Ducks again. Let’s hope they learn from their mistakes — names taking bad penalties (weren’t we supposed to be over that with Ian Cole gone?), playing the right players, and keeping their foot on the gas pedal.
Tonight’s game starts at 8:00 PM MST.