Well, the Avalanche did score a power-play goal Wednesday, ending an 0-for-19 drought that covered parts of seven games.
Oh, and J.T. Compher
scored his first goal in eight games.
That was it for the positive side of a 6-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild.
Here’s my NHL.com RECAP
of Wednesday’s game.
Not that the defeat could be blamed squarely on Philipp Grubauer,
who allowed five goals on 19 shots (two goals on five shots in the second period), but he clearly wasn’t at his best on a night when the Avalanche misfired on too many shots and were sloppy defensively.
While his stats took a beating, Grubauer still has a 2.01 goals-against average and .923 save percentage.
He allowed two goals or fewer in 10 of his 13 previous starts before Wednesday, but you have to wonder if he's starting to run out of gas.
How much longer can Grubauer continue to play at a high level on an almost nightly basis? He’s played in 14 of the first 16 games, Pavel Francouz
remains on the long term injury list with no end in sight, and the Avalanche will play 17 games in March – two back-to-backs – after playing Friday and Saturday in Arizona to close out February.
Grubauer’s backups this season, Adam Werner
and Hunter Miska
, have played parts of a combined seven games in their brief NHL careers. One of them will surely play Saturday.
The Avalanche (9-6-1) have dropped to sixth place in the West after losing two games in a row for the first time, though they are only four points behind first-place Vegas. The Avalanche, Golden Knights and Wild have played the fewest games (16) in the division.
The top four teams will make the playoffs. I would expect the Avalanche to be among them, barring an injury to Grubauer, but expectations are much more than merely making the postseason.