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Colorado Avalanche

Avalanche Game 75 Plus/Minus: Third Line Defense, Stinging Loss



Avalanche Blue Jackets

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 Columbus Blue Jackets for the Colorado Avalanche.

– First Two Periods

The talent discrepancy between these two teams is quite large, so even if there Avalanche weren’t at the top of their game, they were still likely to create plenty of shots and chances. They did just that, but this game didn’t feel remotely close to the game a little over a week ago.

While Colorado created chances, they didn’t dominate and perhaps just as importantly, they made mistakes that gave the Blue Jackets chances. It’s not that the Avalanche were bad through two periods, it’s just that they didn’t come close to playing at the level they’re capable of playing at. Tarasov had to make a lot of saves, but I don’t think they took away his eyes as much as they could have.

On top of all that, Colorado’s passing was off. The Blue Jackets were far from perfect, but on a few turnovers, the Avalanche failed to capitalize. Columbus’ second goal started as a Gaudreau turnover, but Manson gave it right back, creating the rush the other way. 17 shots for in the second is solid, but giving up 14? Not great.

– That First Goal Against

A lot of people on social media didn’t like the second goal Justus Annunen gave up. I can actually live with that one, because it was a great shot. I didn’t love the first goal, though. Any time a puck goes through a goaltender, it’s never ideal. In a 0-0 tie where the first goal matters a heck of a lot, that’s a goal you don’t want to give up.

It’s not all on Annunen, though. The coverage on that rush was poor, as the Avalanche appeared to have guys back, but failed to cover the guy in the most dangerous spot. Makar just didn’t move from his spot at all. I think that’ll be a goal to review later today for + content.

– Colton Defensively

That third line hasn’t been consistent since being put together. They’ve had their nights, but it’s not been super consistent. Right now, Ross Colton is on the opposite of a PDO bender. In his last eight games, he’s been on the ice for 9 goals against at 5-on-5 in about 93 minutes of ice-time. That’s about a goal every 10 minutes, which is what he’s been averaging at 5-on-5.

It’s not all on Colton, and some of it is bad luck to be on the ice for that many goals against in such a short period of time (his expected GA in that time is 5.05), but that line does need to be better.

+ Devon Toews

Toews was far from perfect, as I recall a few pretty rough turnovers in his own end, but he was one guy who seemed to have energy all night long. There really weren’t a ton of positives from the full 60 minutes, but I’ll give Toews one of them.

– Losing To An Inferior Team

If the Avalanche can’t win the division, people will probably look back to the games against the Canadiens and the Blue Jackets as why. It’s not as simple as that. After all, the Avalanche are currently on a 10-2-1 run at the moment. You would take that any day of the week, but it’s the two regulation losses coming against teams they should beat that everyone will look back on and go, “what happened?”

Colorado has one more game against Dallas, but with a loss like this, they’ll need some help to win the division even if they can beat the Stars this weekend.

– The Powerplay

After going 3-for-5 against the Predators and becoming a top 5 powerplay in the league, the Avalanche really put up a dud of a game against Columbus. The two man advantages in the third period could have easily swung the game back in their favor, but they couldn’t beat Tarasov, and just as importantly, they couldn’t hit the net with any consistency.

– Cale Makar’s Aim

Makar had the puck a lot in the offensive zone last night, especially on the powerplay, but his aim was very much off. Some of that can be credited to the Blue Jackets for taking away a clear shooting lane, but on 13 attempts, he hit the next six times. One of those shots was definitely going wide, but Tarasov just snagged it, so they counted it as a shot. Can’t score if you can’t hit the net.

+/- Chris Wagner

An emergency call-up because something happened to Yakov Trenin (not sure what), but managed to get the only goal of the game on a deflection. He had a nice hit in the first period, but did take a pretty blatant penalty in the second, even if it was also a good sell-job by the Blue Jackets forward.

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