The Colorado Avalanche have been in the midst of a resurgence with a recent 12-2-2 record to help bring themselves back into the crowded playoff picture of the Western Conference. This helped balance out a rocky start to the season that put them well out of consideration for a playoff spot.
Tonight’s performance against the Eastern Conference visiting Tampa Bay Lightning, in addition to the thumping Chicago gave the Avalanche just two days ago, are indicative of the inconsistency that could derail that Avs playoffs hopes, should it continue. Tampa Bay came into tonight’s game not having beaten the Avalanche at home since 2004, but alas, even a broken clock is right twice a day.
This was one of the worst performances of the year for the Colorado Avalanche, but it’s not in the sense that they were physically dominated, I mean yes they were. It’s one of the worst because of how depressing and lifeless their performance on the ice was. There seemed to be very little energy out of the Avalanche in tonight’s 4-0 stomping they received, and there was a defeated aura lingering over the arena.
The Lightning’s Steven Stamkos lead the way with two second period goals that put the game out of reach, and to Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov’s credit, he didn’t play terrible, despite allowing four goals. The Avs showed little fight in tonight’s contest and in their few opportunities, Lightning goalie Ben Bishop stopped them leaving no doubt.
The Avs’ best opportunity to score came during the second period when Matt Duchene and Alex Tanguay had a two-on-one break that they couldn’t cash in on, even though they did manage to draw a penalty out of the break.
Overall, passing was subpar for the Avalanche, while the Lightning were the opposite in regards to that. Their second goal saw two one touch passes from Vladislav Namestnikov and Ondrej Palat into a one-timer by Stamkos to make the game 2-0. It was an impressive play to say the least and put the Avs back on their heels.
Colorado failed to generate any sort of fluidity throughout the game, and Tampa Bay frustrated them by disrupting rumblings of momentum they began to generate. The lone bright spot for the Avs was that they held Tampa Bay scoreless on four power plays, though they failed on two power plays of their own.
This was a major game for the Colorado Avalanche tonight, especially when you consider the fact that the team they are tied with for the second wild card playoff spot, the Nashville Predators, also lost tonight. Not only that, but the Minnesota Wild, who holds the first wild card spot, dropped tonight’s game as well.
True playoff teams find ways to win games like these tonight, especially if they have any hopes of climbing the standings. There is still a lot of season left, but tonight’s loss was a major step back for the Avs in their pursuit of a 2016 playoff berth.
When the Avalanche have been at their best, it’s easy to see them as a team that can compete in the Western Conference Playoffs, and could be a team to go deep in them. However, when the Avalanche have been at their worst, it’s easy to see how unready this team is to take the next step toward becoming a championship team.