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Avalanche playoffs

Dater: Avs better bring work boots in Game 3, or it’ll be “here we go again” time

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Well, I’d say not to panic but. … yeah, it’s OK to panic a little. The Colorado Avalanche are now in a best-of-five series with the St. Louis Blues, and the Blues now have home-ice advantage. A flat-line work ethic allowed the Blues to fill the vacuum with more heart and hustle in their 4-1 win at Ball Arena.

The one loss isn’t what I’d panic (a little) the most about, though. It’s the fact that the Blues have a hot goalie in former Cup winner Jordan Binnington, and the Avalanche have a goalie, Darcy Kuemper, who has looked jittery through the first two games.

But this loss wasn’t on any one guy. It was on pretty much every guy wearing burgundy and blue. The Avs just allowed the Blues to outwork them pretty much the entire game.

“We were bad. We were really bad tonight,” Nathan MacKinnon said. “We just didn’t have our jump tonight. But we still feel like we’re a great team. We have to forget about it and move on.”

The Avs’ top guys just didn’t bring it tonight, and Kuemper – though it’s hard to blame him too, too much for the first couple of goals he allowed – he just seemed, yeah, jittery in the game. So far, Binnington has been better than him, and now the pressure is really on to show he can be a money playoff goalie.

Mikko Rantanen went another frustrating night without a goal, and right now the Avs really need him to get something on the board. The same probably can be said about MacKinnon so far in this series. And, Nazem Kadri.

Superstreak Bonus!

“We got outworked and outskated,” Jared Bednar said. “They were much better and we were (much) worse. Our biggest issue, especially early on, nobody wanted to skate with the puck. … We didn’t move. We made the job easy on them. No speed at the red line.”

Indeed, the Avs just seemed to be content with dump-and-chase hockey. That’s fine sometimes, but you have to go get the puck if you want to just dump it in. You have to have a good forecheck if you want to play that way, and the Avs didn’t.

“There are definitely some tactical things we can change for (Game 3),” Bednar said. “They answered back with a big game. Now, it’s on us to do that too.”

Said Rantanen: “Game 3 – we’ve got to be ready.”

OTHER THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS

  • The first Blues goal was deflected off the stick of Sam Girard.
  • Should Bednar put rookie Alex Newhook into the lineup for Game 3, maybe give a night off to a Darren Helm, Andrew Cogliano or Nicolas Aube-Kubel? Yeah, I think so. But I’d also be worried that Newhook has been off a little too long by now, and might have some serious rust.
  • I might also put Logan O’Connor back in the lineup, too. I’d like to see a little more speed, a little more jam, out of that fourth line.
  • MacKinnon and Rantanen have to score goals now, bottom line. Those are the two more talented offensive forwards on the team, and they have to drive the bus now.
  • J.T. Compher had a very rough night. Minus-2, no shots, lost 4-of-6 faceoffs.
  • Kadri, a minus-2, lost 12-of-20 faceoffs. He needs to respond in Game 3.
  • Cale Makar, who had a rare off night, appeared to escape serious injury after going hard into the goal post and having his right leg bent at a bad angle.
  • Despite the loss, MacKinnon was in a surprisingly calm and relaxed demeanor after the game with the media. If there was any worry inside with him, he didn’t show it. He was actually fairly expansive with his answers.
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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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dwestall

MacKinnon saying “we”…how about “I”? Series ain’t over but signs are not good that we have goalie who can steal games.

Gary Batman

Berube clearly outcoached beak-nose Bednar. Now it is beak-nose Bednar’s turn. You are correct AD. The Avs one dimensional play was an easy fix for St. Louis.

Avs are damn lucky to be 1-1. And will lose the series 1-4. With play-off junk like MacKinnon, Rantanen, Burky, Compher on the roster we are done.

Mark my words, this is the first game of the Blues sweeping the Avs after game one!

Aaron Rud

Oh, look, it’s Mr. Victory again.

jimstrohmeier

I believe Bednar is the better coach, and making comments about a hockey player’s nose, in that full contact sport – is grade school stuff

dp10

Hey buddy! How are you feeling? Ready for the vacation?

Richard Trujillo

Mackinnon and Rantanen pulling their usual disappearing early this year. This has been their MO for their entire careers. Why do we suddenly expect something to be different this year?

Avs needed to acquire an elite goal scorer at the deadline to get them over the hump.

I personally think the franchise is cursed after they mistreated O’Reilly the way they did.

dp10

Neither Rantanen nor MacKinnon have any major droughts in their play-off resume actually. But they do need to step it up and they need to turn off this mindset that they will win games simply because they are the better team on paper. What’s worse is that they get have been getting these first round match ups against team who literally rolled over for them only to then meet an opponent that actually also wants to win the series.

Gary Batman

LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL! How did they do the last four games vs Vegas 2021? Nilsville!

dp10

Ah Gary! When are we meeting for lunch? My office is also in midtown.

But to answer your question: MacKinnon had 2 assists in those 4 games (5pts in total vs Vegas) and Rantanen had 2 goals and 1 assist (6pts in total vs Vegas). While .5pts/game (#29) and .75 pts/game(#96) are below what you would expect from either, I would not classify it as a Houdini either.

Donald Victory

They vanished.

For MacHS, two assists over four games is a vanishing act especially for a top line first overall draft pick.

Last edited 6 months ago by Donald Victory
Casey Pond

MacKinnon is too arrogant to change his game as Frei once pondered. So easy to take away his regular season play in the playoffs. The stiff must go.

Seems the final stretch resting of the pansies did not go in fact hindered.

dp10

I think one of the biggest issues with the Avs in recent playoff runs has been their inability to make the right adjustments. I mean we practically steamrolled through the first round in 4 successive seasons only to lose all composure, swagger and confidence in the second round. I am sure we will hear all the usual complaints again soon. We are not big enough, not gritty enough, not tough enough to compete against teams like Dallas, Vegas or even this iteration of the Blues. But while this criticism isn’t entirely without merit, I think the bigger question maybe about… Read more »

SayWhat

LOL REally?The Boo’s won 1 game no panic just time to go out and play great hockey for the Av’s tonight.That will start a streak to 4 wins and the next round the boo’s go play golf.

John Klingenstein

Let the over reactions begin! Tough night for sure. Avs clearly weren’t at the their best, but that’s as good as the Blues can play and they pretty much got lucky. Puck was bouncing all night and 1st 2 goals on deflections from the D sticks (1 on a 5 on 3) is just unfortunate. Not much you can do on those. Would have been nice if Keumper came up with that 3rd one but cant really fault him on a point blank shot from a really good shooter. To say he was shakey is just lazy writing. I thought… Read more »

Karl Keen

I agree on the puck bouncing. Some of it was them outworking us the first part of the game, but it seems like every puck bashed into the air just falls right to one of their players. We deflect two shots past our own goalie! We need a little better puck luck.

JD16

I agree with everything you said except the third goal. He whiffed on it. He needs to have that one. I’d be saying it if it was the regular season. But ESPECIALLY in the playoffs. Sometimes it’s not fair what goalies are asked to do (formerly be one, myself). But it is what it is. Kuemper will want that one back. It was a very saveable goal.
He made some great saves early but you gotta make them when they count the most.

Dave North

“Hot goalie” (Binnington) had nothing to do with this loss. He didn’t have to make any really difficult saves in the game, whereas the Avs gave up several grade A chances at the other end. Kuemper made some great saves. The Avs were simply outworked and the only reason the shots were pretty even was that the Blues started protecting their lead. The top line was really horrible. Rantanen has been bad since coming back from his illness/injury. The only reason ha has points in the playoffs is that he still fills a spot on the PP. If they don’t… Read more »

Zoltan

I think the most important thing what is missing are the cross-ice passes in front of the net. They don’t pass each other there. Especially Wild-Boar-Nichuskin and Mack. Mikko only have momentums, because nobody is passing to him. He has A1 one timers, but that means, there has to be someone who passes to him. Burky played well in the first line when needed, he would be fine there – or Landy, no problem, but Nuke … And what did he done in SH ? kicked his goalie for 1:30 3-5. That mentality what he brings, would be perfect for… Read more »

Eric

Avs are 5-1 so far in the playoffs…Relax.

dk

^^ This.

Peterman

2nd goal deflected off Manson too. Keumper has been OK, but missed a big save in Game 2. Skaters need to shoot more and shoot low, look for rebounds. Hit the net and keep it away from Binn’s glove. As the game progressed, Avs were afraid to shoot and STL started collapsing five skaters on the half boards cycle. Avs might try keeping one F at the net and just tossing pucks towards goal to keep STL honest. All strategies and work ethic being equal, the Avs pure ability will put them a step ahead naturally. Hopefully Bednar makes the… Read more »

Aaron Rud

Where are all the cocky fans now?

Karl Keen

For me, the bottom line is that Kuemper needed to make the save on Perron in the third. Simple as that. We had the momentum, 9 minutes left, and it was not unreasonable to believe we could tie that game up and pull one out in OT. BUT for the fourth consecutive post season we do not have a goalie that appears to be willing to make that big save for us when we really need it. Every mistake (and we do not make many), we have been punished for.

Lazy Bones

One could make the argument that Mac is trying a little too hard, at times. I say this because there have been quite a few giveaways from him while trying to create space for a snipe. Girard… Continues to frustrate me with his play. Game one was brilliant, and game two was back to inconsistencies. I think it’s time to get JJ or McD in for a game. The fourth line, especially, is not working. I agree with Dater, Avs need to insert some speed and physicality and scoring ability in the bottom six. When Mac and Moose and Naz… Read more »

Frank007799

I think you can give Cogliano a break, no problem. Sturm doesn’t do much useful either. Compher deserves a forced leave too with the sh**ty game he had last night. NAK was good, he checks hard, goes into the corners and he does his job right. I’m totally in with Newhook & O’Connor back in the lineup for Game 3. I’m also a big fan of launching in Big MacDermid on the 4th line. This guy has improved his skating remarkably during the season compared to his level at training camp. If you want a hard working, heartfelt guy who… Read more »

jimstrohmeier

I’d like to see Newhook and O’Conner in the mix. I don’t know why Joe traded Jost for Sturm, because Sturm has yet to show why he was brought here. The guy was the invisible man out there.

This series is the Avs, but they cannot afford to take another night off. They had their long rest after the Preds sweep and it’s showtime. Kadri is playing for a contract, he is another one who should be a difference maker.

Ted Grycel

There are some changes needed, LOC’s energy was missed. Someone needed to step up and other than Landy, it was far and few between. I agree than Newhook may be rusty, but I bet he comes with a prove it mentality and that may be what ts needed, guys that REALLY want to play. I go back and forth on MacDermid, if you dress him as a forward he could always move to D if needed if Girard looks small like he did last night. MacDermid’s plus/minus was pretty good over the last 5 or 10 games and he’s come… Read more »

JD16

Kuemper made some insane saves. But that last goal took all of those away.
The team looked discombobulated, exasperated by the fact the puck seemed to be bouncing on them all night. Most notable plays being Lehkonen, Kadri, and Val.
This is exactly why I thought Bednar should’ve played Newhook in game four. Maybe you put him in and he has some pent up energy. Or he’s going to be lost in his rust.
I’m not too worried (Binnington, a little). It’s hard to win six games in a row.
Also, that call on Val was absolute BS.

Yan Girard

Before the game of last night, I had no doubt on this team. But since this game, I have serious doubt. The team has the speed and the skills. But I am not sure if this team has the necessary character to win Stanley Cup. Does this team really want win? I wonder. The performance of the game #2 is UNACCEPTABLE. I pity the fans who purchased tickets at big price. At least, wait to be at St-Louis to drag your boots. I expect at minimum of respect toward the fans. In the last two games, the best forward of… Read more »

Glendon Gulliver

Prior to last night, I think it was basically don’t fix something that is not broken. Well it is now broken or at least developing cracks. Now is the time to change the line up to get that spark or better line up against St. Louis. My line up would be: Landeskog-MacKinnon-Rantanen/Nichushkin-Kadri-Burakovsky/Newhook-Compher-Lehkonen/O’Conner-Helm-Aube-Kubel. Those were the top two lines most of the year. Lehkonen was brought in to complement the 3rd line. Sturm was brought in to provide size and win faceoffs, but has not really added those in the playoffs. Aube-Kubel and O’Conner have provided speed and aggressiveness. Colorado needs… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Glendon Gulliver
William Goit

This game was a hangover from sweeping the Predators in the first round. There is little excuse for a lack of hard work and the result will always be the same.
Either Calgary or Edmonton will not be taking nights off so the Avs had better get their heads straight about how difficult winning a Cup is.

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