Well, so much for the Avs setting the all-time NHL record for wins in a season. Had they gone 18-0 the rest of the way, it would have happened. Alas, it won’t, as the Avs lose 3-1 to the Vancouver Canucks at Ball Arena.
My main takeaway from the game: Avs probably took them a little lightly. I thought the Avs might come out and put Vancouver away early, but it just never happened. Once it got late in the game and still scoreless, it became one of those “anything can happen” kinds of things, and what happened was Vancouver got a couple of goals and held on with veteran Jaroslav Halak in net.
Everything was just a little off for the Avs tonight. Passes were a little behind guys, a half-second too late, etc. Avs couldn’t finish much around the net. The final minute and a half, when Darcy Kuemper was pulled, didn’t go well, as the Avs only got set up once I believe, for one Makar shot from the point.
Just not good enough tonight. It happens. The conference and division titles are wrapped up, though, so I’m certainly not worried about the loss. I think this was one night where the Avs really missed their captain, Gabe Landeskog, especially late in the game.
Avs have been a little less efficient in getting pucks out of their zone of late, too, and I think the loss of Sam Girard has been noticeable there. For all the grief Girard gets sometimes, the fact is he is great at skating the puck out of the zone when he gets it. Avs were just a little too slow with the puck out of their end tonight. They also turned the puck over too much.
Josh Manson had another poor-to-mediocre showing, but I’m not real worried about him. He’s still getting used to the Avs’ systems and needs a bit of a learning curve here before we can actually get worried about him. But, yeah, he obviously needs to be better. His turnover led to Vancouver’s first goal, by Brock Boeser.
I thought Andrew Cogliano played well in his Avs debut, nearly scoring in the first period.
Again, it was one of those nights. This team is going to get a little bored at times until the end of the regular season. It happened tonight.
I expect a strong bounce-back win Friday against the Flyers. We should see Artturi Lehkonen make his Avs debut in that one. His immigration paperwork still wasn’t quite done today. But I would expect by Friday, he’ll be good to go.