Can you guess how this one is going to go?
– The Third Period Effort…Or Lack Of
After the first period, where the Avalanche were leaky in their own end, they settled things down a bit. The second period wasn’t perfect, but they reeled it in a bit. They scored one, the Blues scored one, and I guess you can live with that. At that point, the game was 4-1 after two periods, and barring a massive comeback, likely over.
Then the third period happened, and that’s really what pissed Jared Bednar off.
The first two goals came on the powerplay for the Blues, and they were way too easy. No one covering the backdoor on the first one, and on the second goal, Brayden Schenn somehow snuck away from everyone on the ice and found a pocket in the high slot.
That was it for Alexandar Georgiev, as Bednar gave him the mercy pull. Usually, when your goalie gets pulled, you wake up a little bit. Not the Avalanche. Not on this night.
It got worse and worse as the period went on. I swear Ivan Prosvetov had to face five glorious scoring chances within three minutes of being in the game. The Avalanche just gave up. I felt bad for the young goaltender, because in 15 minutes, he probably faced more high-danger chances against than Georgiev did in the first 45. After one of his big saves, Pavel Buchnevich gave him a tap on the pads. Even he felt bad.
The Avalanche have had bad games before. Every team does, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen them quit like they did in the third period. That is extremely concerning.
– Alexandar Georgiev
This is not all on Georgiev, but you can tell that he is not a confident goaltender at the moment. On the third goal by the Blues, which was a real killer at the end of the first period, he’s so deep in his crease that Krug had a ton of room to shoot. Even the saves he did make, he didn’t look very confident making them.
Is it time to start getting worried about the goaltending? That’s seven consecutive starts where Georgiev has finished with a save percentage below .900. It’s not all on Georgiev, but at some point, you need some saves from your goalie.
– The Other 18 Skaters
I can’t even list any positives among the 18, simply because the final 20 minutes of the game left such a sour taste in my mouth. The third line started out great, but I don’t know if I noticed them after the first 10 minutes. I refuse to give anyone props after what I witnessed.
– Special Teams
The penalty kill that started the season so strong has been showing cracks of late, and the Blues, who came into the game with the worst powerplay in the NHL, picked them apart. Even St. Louis’ first powerplay, which they didn’t score on, nearly resulted in a goal. The Avalanche had several chances to clear, and just couldn’t. They were eventually bailed out by Georgiev making a great blocker save. Things fell apart soon after.
As bad as the penalty kill was, the powerplay might have been worse. For the second Saturday in a row, they gave up two shorthanded goals. The first powerplay of the night had some decent looks, including MacKinnon in the slot, but nothing is going for them. In the third, they tried something new, swapping Ryan Johansen out for Jonathan Drouin. The result? Another shorthanded goal against.
The powerplay, which has had MacKinnon, Rantanen, and Makar on it for every single game, has dropped to 22nd in the league. A team with this much talent on their top unit should not be in the bottom half of the league with the man advantage.
– Too Many Men
Three games in a row where an NHL team takes a too many men on the ice penalty. Three. That just simply cannot happen. On the penalty Saturday night, the Avalanche passed it right towards their own bench while players were changing. That’s like committing a crime right in front of the police. You’re just begging to get caught, and of course, they did. Just a sign of how discombobulated this team is.
– Overall Team Chemistry
I asked Cale Makar after the game if the chemistry was off, and he didn’t really give too much of a detailed answer, but it sure looks that way to me. The main issue is in the top six. I’m not sure I’ve loved any of the line combinations we’ve seen, but we barely see them for that long. The lines are changing almost every period. I don’t know how you develop chemistry with so much change.
Even beyond all the change, you have guys like Rantanen and MacKinnon, guys who have played together for years, who don’t look like they’re on the same page. Devon Toews and Makar don’t look like the best defensive pair in the NHL right now. Not even close.
Right now, it look like a bunch of individuals on the ice far too often. There are a lot of new faces on this team, but when the players who have been around a while look confused, you can’t just blame the new guys.
+ That 8-5 Record
Logan O’Connor doesn’t think they deserve eight wins. Jared Bednar had hinted during their six game winning streak to start the season that they weren’t playing their best.
The fact of the matter is, whether you believe they deserve to be 8-5 right now, they are. Those points are in the bank, and that matters in a big way. Look at the Edmonton Oilers. They’ve had such a horrid start that they’ve got to be nearly perfect the rest of the season just to try and get into a playoff spot.
Those eight wins buy the Avalanche some time to get their stuff together. It’s still just November 12. Not saying it will all come together, but at least they’re in a much better spot than some other teams.
+ Jared Bednar’s Postgame Presser
I’ve never seen Bednar that angry before. He came into the room with a nasty scowl on his face and it never left.
The staff on this team is not without blame, but sometimes, you have to lay into your team. If that’s what we saw, I can’t imagine what the players saw.
Practice on Sunday should be “fun.”