It might be time to panic. Maybe not a complete meltdown panic, but it’s certainly worth questioning Thursday’s result.

Is it effort related? Hard to say. That’s a hefty accusation and not somewhere worth landing at this juncture. But whether it’s fatigue — both physical and mental — or just simply being rattled, the Avalanche are struggling in a big way and they seem to be digging themselves into a deeper hole with each passing game.

Following Friday’s 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Place, the Avs find themselves mired in a five-game winless stretch. And each game seems to have an attached excuse — a reason why the loss isn’t worth panicking over. Each of them until this one.

The reality is, the loss — and the five-game slide — are likely mostly fatigue-related. Without so many of its minute-munching players in the lineup because of injury, the Avalanche are overplaying their top guys. And their depth players are also being asked to play more minutes than ever before.

In the three games since returning from an eight-game injury-related absence, top center Nathan Mackinnon has averaged more than 25 minutes of ice time per game. Right winger Mikko Rantanen, who scored his team-leading 26th goal of the season on Friday, finished the evening at 25:57. Rantanen is one of just six skaters on the Avs to appear in all 37 games to date. He has eclipsed the 25-minute mark in 10 of those games — something he did just three times in the first 408 regular season games of his career.

J.T. Compher has also played minutes well beyond what he’s accustomed to. Through 37 games he’s averaged 20:13 of ice time. Last year Compher averaged 16:19 and hasn’t had a season remotely close to the 20-minute mark in his career. The second highest before this season was in 2018-19 where he averaged 17:29.

And there are a handful of others in a similar situation.

Injuries are part of the game and the Avs, while they’ve dealt with an overwhelming amount of them at times this year, are not the only team to have issues with health. A lack of production from depth players has also been a major problem. Alex Newhook and Ben Meyers were expected to be large parts of the team’s offense. With the departures of Andre Burakovsky and Nazem Kadri over the summer, Newhook and Meyers were supposed to provide at least some of what was lost. The duo has instead combined for eight goals in 53 games.

Meyers has played just 17 games. He was sent down to the AHL earlier in the season and even suffered an injury while with the Colorado Eagles. He has just one goal to show for his time with the Avalanche. Newhook, who head coach Jared Bednar said would be given a long leash to develop into the second-line center this season, has seven goals and 12 points in 36 games. He’s had stretches where he spent more time among the bottom six than the top six. Given the number of injuries the team has and the lack of healthy options ahead of him, this in itself is a problem.

Other fill-ins like Martin Kaut, Sampo Ranta, Anton Blidh, Jean-Luc Foudy, Charles Hudon, Jacob MacDonald, Denis Malgin and the departed Lukas Sedlak and Dryden Hunt have all combined for two goals and six points in 116 games.

Colorado simply doesn’t have the depth to overcome injuries.

The Canucks season has been disappointing, to say the least. Especially in recent weeks. But the fact that Vancouver was able to erase a 2-0 deficit thanks to a three-goal outburst in 2:33 while frustrating the Avs and outshooting them 43-32 only elevates this team’s issues.

The sight of Alexandar Georgiev slamming his stick on the crossbar twice following Vancouver’s third goal embodies how the Avalanche are likely feeling as a whole.

Is the fix simply getting back to full health? Maybe. But until then, the players that are healthy need to find a way to collect points in the standings. And do it without overplaying Rantanen, Compher, MacKinnon and company.