Could the Avalanche finally be in trouble?
In a season that has been filled with positivity, the Avalanche find themselves in uncharted territory. Because for the second consecutive game, both at the Pepsi Center, the Avs have blown a third-period lead and lost in regulation—thus coming away with zero points.
Colorado led by two goals against the Chicago Blackhawks before surrendering three, followed by an empty-netter, and falling 5-3 in regulation. This comes two nights after the Carolina Hurricanes scored three straight to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 victory over the Avalanche.
The only other test Colorado has faced this year has been injuries. And with those injuries came a five-game winless streak early in the season. But the Avalanche quickly erased that storyline through depth scoring, solid goaltending and a superstar named Nathan MacKinnon playing MVP-quality hockey.
But this feels a little different.
“It’s the same as last game, the last five minutes of the period,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “The other night we get caught three deep, today we have four guys above the puck and no one wants to do their job.”
What Bednar revealed after the game was that the Avs aren’t nervous when the other team scores. They aren’t keeping their heads down, worried about blowing a lead. Rather, they’re confident, they’re fighting—but they’re still making crucial errors that are leading to the opposition scoring goals.
“I didn’t feel that, not on the bench. I didn’t feel that.” Bednar added.
Certainly, the Avalanche have some things to work on. They have lost three-of-four this week but have led in each of the three losses. With Monday’s game at Vegas the last game before the holiday break, the Avs will look to finish off the first portion of the season on a winning note.
Because after the holidays, it’s full steam ahead towards the All-Star break and eventually, the playoffs.
Calvert, Graves, and Jost provided the Avs with depth scoring. Before the Blackhawks took control, the story of the night was Colorado’s depth players and how they led the charge offensively. Matt Calvert, Ryan Graves and Tyson Jost, all of which are returning players from a season ago, each recorded multiple points in the loss.
Calvert scored twice, Graves had a goal and an assist, and Jost two assists.
Chicago finally figured out the Avs. Leading into Saturday’s contest, the Avalanche had outscored the Blackhawks 16-6 in the previous three matchups. And without the third-period comeback, it seemed to be going that way once again. The Blackhawks’ four goals in 7:59 erased Colorado’s lead and their dominance over Chicago this season.
The Avalanche are now five points back for first place in the Central Division. Although they have a game in hand on the St. Louis Blues, Colorado’s regulation loss mixed with St. Louis’ win on Saturday means the Avs are now five points back of first place.