Colorado Drops 1st of the Season, loses 4-0 to Penguins
The Colorado Avalanche looked human for the first time this year, losing 4-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
If I could describe this effort by Colorado in one word, that word would be listless. You could tell the team just wasn't into playing hockey tonight. The entire team seemed to be a step behind the Penguins all night, and the decision making was questionable from the top of the roster to the bottom.
Reilly Smith had a great night with 2 of the 4 goals, and Tristan Jarry made some big stops on the few opportunities that Colorado could muster. You could also tell the Av's decision making was off. From a team that generally has crisp passing, you could see MacKinnon's bungling with Johansen's, Cale Makar giving up a puck alone in his own zone, missed passes for icings, and some unfortunate bounces around the net.
For fans of the Av's, we are used to seeing guys like Makar outskating other players and beating them to pucks, but the entire night seemed to find Colorado late to pucks, and late to plays.
Jonathan Drouin was pumping some pucks on net, and between this and Valeri Nichushkin's forechecking and boardwork, these are the few positive points the team had last night. Drouin had 5 shots on goal, one was a slapper from the right side that was labelled for the top, but Jarry stopped it. He also had another great opportunity right in the slot, but Jarry had the answer to that one as well.
I feel like one of the keys of this game was the lack of control overall, and that flowed over to the faceoff dot. The Pens won 60.7% of the faceoffs, to the 39.3% of the Avs. Even Ryan Johansen who has been lauded for his faceoff efforts this year only won 45% of his own draws. The other centers for the Avs:
Nathan MacKinnon: 33%
Freddie Olofsson: 30%
Ross Colton: 35.7%
Not a great way to control things. When you combine that with the lack of footspeed, its a recipe for disaster.
Kudos to the Penguins though, Evgeni Malkin looked solid. Reilly Smith brought it as well, and Tristian Jarry handled his business tonight.
I've read around and seen a lot of Avs fans blaming Georgiev for this loss, or weighing it heavy on him. For the most part, I disagree. Yes, he let in 4. No, he didn't make any of the big game saving stops he has before, but the team did him NO favors in front of him either. They misplayed quite a bit, and left him out to dry. When your goalie lets in 4 goals on 29 shots, he needs to shoulder some of the blame; I'm just saying the entire game isn't on him.
My final thought: the team has won 6 straight. They were bound to lose eventually, and it was against the Penguins. It's a shame that ends the longest NHL road win streak, but the Avs are in the record books for now!
Next up, the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday, October 29th for an afternoon matchup. Let's hope for a more inspired effort this time around!
Let's go Avs!