LOS ANGELES – I actually thought the Avalanche would win this game tonight, but I swear on my son’s head, when the second period started, I said to myself: the only way the Avs lose this game is if they put Doughty and Kopitar on the power play too much and give them a chance.
That’s exactly how the Avs lost this hockey game tonight, a loss that puts them at 2-2 (and, now, four points behind Vegas in the Honda West Division, in a three-way tie for fourth place in the division. Only the top four teams in the eight-team division make the playoffs, folks).
On to the grades for this 4-2 loss…
Bo Byram (C) – Well, I thought Bo Byram looked like a guy playing his first career game tonight. There were some things to really like (a couple of dynamic rushes through the neutral zone, a couple of brisk, tape-to-tape passes). Some things weren’t so great (a penalty just 2:33 in, when he grabbed Anze Kopitar from behind, another instance when he got rubbed off the puck in the third period). I think when he gets a bit bigger and stronger, his game will become that much heavier. He looked a little light on the puck at times, but the kid is only 19 and better days are ahead.
Greg Pateryn (C) – I didn’t get a chance to ask Jared Bednar this today, but one thing I’m still curious about: why did he play tonight instead of Erik Johnson? Was this really the player who gave the Avs a better chance at winning the hockey game? Or, was this is a case of the coach saying, “Well, I want to be nice to the guy we just traded for and give him a game here.”? It’s a Monday Morning Quarterback observation here maybe, but I think one of the problems tonight was the Avs just had too many new guys in the lineup. It didn’t seem like the same team without a solid veteran like EJ. Pateryn was one of the new guys, and his penalty in the second period, 38 seconds after Tyson Jost’s helped cost the hockey game in a big way. Yeah, it was a questionable call, but you have to be smarter when you’re already down a man.