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Column: Jared Bednar has to realize safe is death with his Avalanche team



Jared Bednar
Daniel Bartel, Icon Sportswire

Wasn’t this team over this kind of thing by now?

Hadn’t the Avalanche said – and more important, done – the right things after that spell of blowing games at home with leads in the third period? Wasn’t that out of their system once and for all?

Guess not.

The Avs sat back and let the Washington Capitals steal two points they never should have gotten Thursday night in a 3-2 loss in front of a gazillion Caps bandwagon transplants in the stands of the Pepsi Center.

Strong, aggressive, bold, successful in the game’s first 35 minutes, the Avs turned weak, impish and ultimately into a loser by the final horn. Starting with a putrid 5-on-3 power-play opportunity with just under five minutes to go in the second period, the Avs just stopped doing everything that had built a 2-0 lead previously.

Trying to nurse a 2-1 lead throughout the third, the Avs started getting sloppy. They took three separate minor penalties in the final 22 minutes and Washington’s dangerous power play cashed in on the third one, with 7:12 left. Then, with 2:04 left, Washington took the lead on a T.J. Oshie tip past Philipp Grubauer.

A win would have moved the Avs into a tie, points-wise, with St. Louis for the top spot in the Western Conference. Instead, it’s another wasted opportunity at home. The Avs have probably kicked away 6-8 points they should have had with these home collapses, and it might make a bad difference in the end.

No question about it, the Avs just got too conservative in the third period. They shouldn’t be a team that tries to sit back and milk a one-goal lead. They have too much youth, speed and offensive talent to waste it trying to play prevent defense, dump-and-change hockey.  My opinion is: if you’re going to lose, lose aggressively. Don’t try to change your personality all of a sudden just because you have a one- or two-goal lead. Jared Bednar wants a nice, safe, defensive game in third periods – and that’s not a bad thing to want. Every coach wants that.

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