The Colorado Avalanche hit the road for the first time this year, taking on the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. The Avs got off to a very slow start, with a two-goal deficit after one, but managed to to come back and tie it up after two. Ultimately, the game came down to the final period, and Columbus dominated the Avs on their way to a 5-2 victory.
What did we learn from the loss in Columbus?
- Carl Soderberg has been a black hole in terms of possession early in the season, and tonight was no different. His line– with Matt Nieto and Gabriel Bourque — were at the bottom of the barrel among the Avs’ forwards this evening, and are being forced into a heavy defensive role that they aren’t fully capable of handling. It’ll be interesting to see if changes are made, as caoch Jared Bednar clearly trusts the three veterans on the line.
- Tyson Barrie has been a bit of a slow starter through his career, and he hasn’t looked himself early this year. He is yet to get on the scoreboard with a point, and has been off with his passing. The top power-play unit runs through Barrie, and hasn’t done much through three games. He will get it going eventually, but you want that to be sooner rather than later.
- The Avs’ third defensive pair of Nikita Zadorov and Patrik Nemeth performed exceptionally well on opening night, both in terms of possession and results. However, Nemeth has missed the last two games due to injury, and that pairing has really struggled mightily with Mark Barberio in his place. Zadorov and Barberio performed really well as a pair last year, so it may just be a small blip, but it hasn’t been a fun two games for them.
- Sheldon Dries played really well in the first two games, but Bednar indicated on Wednesday that he thought about taking him out of the lineup for Vladislav Kamenev. He didn’t, and Dries struggled with turnovers and even took a bizarre delay-of-game penalty late. It shouldn’t be surprising if Kamenev checks in next game against Buffalo.
- Philipp Grubauer got his first start in an Avs uniform, and to say he didn’t get much help would be an understatement. The three even-strength goals against came when the Blue Jackets had a wide-open player in the slot, and the other goal was on a two-man advantage. He made some big saves early, but the Avs as a whole didn’t do much to make his life easier.
The Avs will stay on the road and head to Buffalo on Thursday night to take on the Sabres. The game starts at 5 PM MST.