The Colorado Avalanche’s season came down to two costly turnovers. Now the team has some hard questions to answer this offseason.
The Colorado Avalanche’s season is over. It’s been over since yesterday evening, but it still stings.
It does a lot more than sting, to be honest. It makes me really mad. I genuinely hate the Vegas Golden Knights, but I’m angry at the Colorado Avalanche. They took their foot off the gas and never seemed to be able to get revved up again.
Naturally, the 5-1 loss in Vegas, the Avalanche’s second of the series, didn’t do them any favors. The previous loss had been close, but 5-1 is a spanking. That said, it was in Vegas and that arena is notoriously hard for the Avalanche.
It was the loss at home that cost them. And it all boiled down to three minutes. Three sloppy minutes cost them the series and the season.
The Colorado Avalanche out-played Vegas for most of that game. They looked dominant. And they were at home, where they traditionally play very well. The game looked assured. Hey, most teams have to win at least one on the road to advance, but that’s not true when you’re the President’s Trophy winners. If they really had to, they could just win at home.
Unfortunately, a sloppy three minutes at the beginning of the third is what signed their doom. Both times an Avalanche player turned the puck over, and Vegas managed to capitalize. Those two goals, just under three minutes apart, tied the game. Vegas went on to win in overtime.
And now to extend their season, Colorado had to win in a building that was so hard for them. They did not. If only they’d taken the game at home… well, “if only” isn’t going to get us anywhere.
So, where do we go from here? By all accounts, GM Joe Sakic had assembled the best lineup this team had had since the glory years. Next year isn’t going to be the same.
Where to lay the blame? Philipp Grubauer could have bailed the team out a couple more times. Yes, he was in beast mode for the first six games of these playoffs. But the adage is that a hot goalie wins the Stanley Cup. He stopped being a hot goalie.
Nathan MacKinnon did not produce in this series. He didn’t score a goal since his two in the 7-1 domination in Game 1. You can’t have your superstar fail to score for that long in the playoffs. Sure, he was double-teamed every shift. All stars are. You have to find ways around defenders, or you have to facilitate your linemates’ making the opponent pay.
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Defense came up lacking. Patrik Nemeth shouldn’t have skated the last two games after the blunders he’d been making all series.
And that takes us to coaching. For what it’s worth, beyond the Nemeth situation any maybe a few unsound decisions, I don’t think this second-round exit is all or even mostly the coaching staff’s fault.
That said, it’s easier to replace a coach then address the above deficiencies. The cold, hard truth is that Colorado, despite having a championship caliber team the last couple years, has not won under Jared Bednar. There’s no reason to think that’s going to change.
Unpopular opinion: This is where Patrick Roy would excel as a coach. He knows how to win at the highest levels, and he’s beyond motivated to do so. Don’t worry, I’m not really suggesting we bring Roy back. I don’t think he’d return even if asked. Just saying he could provide the needed push in this situation.
Well, the Colorado Avalanche season is over until October, most likely. I guess we’ll see what Sakic decides to do in the offseason. It was a wild ride, Avs Nation. Too bad it couldn’t last longer.