As with every game, you take the good with the bad, so time to take a look at the pluses and the minuses in the game against the Carolina Hurricanes for the Colorado Avalanche.
– The First Goal Against
It’s hard to win games when you give up goals on the first two shots against, it’s hard to win games when you give up goals on three of the first four shots, and it’s really hard to win games when it’s four goals on 10 shots.
But that first goal…I really don’t even know what to say about that. Sure, there is some bad luck involved in the play. Alexandar Georgiev makes the initial save and it just bounces off his glove and goes in, but the problem is Georgiev had no clue where the rebound was going in the first place. It’s another goal that Bednar expressed his displeasure with.
For a game that was 3-0, the Avalanche really weren’t playing that poorly. They had only given up four shots on goal at that point. You’re going to give up shots on goal during a hockey game, but to limit the Hurricanes, who are a very good team, to just four shots through 18 minutes or so is pretty solid. Georgiev had been on a nice run heading into this game, but just needs to be better. There’s not much more that can be said.
– Not Jonathan Drouin’s Night
Jonathan Drouin started the game away from the top line, which is the first time that’s happened in well over a month. If he has more games like he did on Thursday, it might take him a while to get back to that spot.
The powerplay was a mess all night long, and has been since coming out of the break, but two penalties to cut powerplays short just isn’t going to sit well with the coaching staff. When he did have the puck on his stick, there were turnovers and plays dying. Now, the Hurricanes pressure as much as any team in the league, and that gave Colorado problems for a large portion of the night, but it really seemed to mess with Drouin.
Drouin has continued to chip in with assists over the last 10 games, but has just one goal in his last 12 games. Maybe it was the right time to switch it up a little bit.
– The Powerplay
Colorado ended three powerplays early on their own by taking penalties, which never helps, but it’s been an adventure with the man advantage for this team since coming back from the break. The crispness isn’t there, and all three opposing teams have not been afraid to pressure them, which has led to some sub-par passing. It’s not about to get any easier on Saturday, as the Florida Panthers have the 7th best PK in the league.
It’s kind of wild that Parise has jumped right back into the NHL after several months off and looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. He’s tough on the forecheck, he gets in front of whatever he can in the defensive zone, and he found a way to chip in offensively when the team had nothing going on Thursday. Has immediately come in and been an upgrade on some of the forwards currently on the team.
It was about as flukey a goal as you’ll see in the NHL, but it counts either way. It also came about 10 seconds after he carried the puck well over 120 feet to help create the Parise goal. In the second period, he danced through Carolina defenders and nearly created another great opportunity.
That offensive jump from Girard is really nice to see, considering they’re not getting a whole lot of offense out of another defenseman…
– What Happened To Dynamic Bowen Byram?
I’ll probably save a lot for a bigger piece, but the play of Bowen Byram is really concerning. He’s been pretty honest about the fact that he hasn’t been as good this year. Coming out of the break, not much has really changed. One thing you could always count on from Byram in the past was some dynamic offensive play, but I’m having a hard time remembering the last time he made a play offensively that had you go, “Wow!” His production is down, his shot generation is down, and he doesn’t look as quick.
Because he’s never played a full season, he never really got to have a sophomore slump. Maybe that’s what we’re witnessing.
– Mikko Rantanen
We’re three games back from the break and Rantanen still looks off. He had the goal off the turnover against the Devils, but for the most part, hasn’t generated a whole lot on his own, and looks to be fighting the puck. The Avalanche got some secondary scoring on Thursday night, but their big guns were shut down.
+ The Jets Keep Losing
Look on the bight side – the Avalanche aren’t the only team slumping right now.
Colorado isn’t in first place in the division anymore because Dallas has the lead in points percentage, but the Winnipeg Jets have dropped five straight games themselves, so they haven’t been able to catch the Avalanche. With the Jets struggling, this was an opportunity for Colorado to increase the gap between the two in the standings, and they’ve failed to do that, but the Jets having issues of their own makes you feel a little better.