As the Colorado Avalanche’s quest to make the playoffs continues, the biggest thing standing in their way might, in fact, be themselves. Such was the case during Saturday’s loss to the Nashville Predators. Incapable of playing a complete game, they entered the third period with the lead, only to come away emptyhanded.

“Our third period needs to be better,” head coach Patrick Roy said. “If you look at our record, in the last four games we’re 1-3, and in all of those games we were even or ahead going into the third period. We need to be smarter in the third period. We have to learn how to play those situations much better.”

In the one game that they have won during this four-game stretch, it took a record-breaking performance by Calvin Pickard in the final frame to emerge victorious. As has proven the case in the other three contests, that is not something they can always count on.

“You have to be able to win those contests at this time of year,” Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said. “You can’t afford to make mistakes … It’s something that we’re going to watch video and study and see what we can do better.”

One thing the team needs to do better is eliminating turnovers, which all too often are being capitalized on. As the Predators are one of the two wildcard teams the Avalanche are trying to catch (the other is the Minnesota Wild, who also won Saturday), this loss hurt.  That doesn’t mean the Avalanche are going to dwell on it, however, as they intend on focusing on what they can control: Improving their play going forward.

“There’s 15 games left,” said Landeskog. “We know it’s crunch time. We’re not going to sit around and pout. We’re going to rest up and get back at it on Monday.”

The Avs will face off against the 28-31-6 Arizona Coyotes tomorrow at the Pepsi Center.