Game 44. Avs-Predators. Bad First Period Leads to Avs Loss

Posted: January 10, 2012 in Avs vs. Nashville Predators, Game Thoughts

The Avs lost a tough one tonight. It was a big game in the Western Conference playoff picture, and now the game on Thursday becomes that much bigger. 2 losses in a row is a blip, it’s going to happen to everyone, but 3 in a row, especially when the Avs are fighting for one of the last playoffs spots, is a problem.

I didn’t get to watch the first 2 periods of the game, but the Avs got off to a bad start, when less than 5 minutes into the game, Nashville slipped one past Varlamov. The play started by the Avs losing a race to a puck below the goal line. Those are battles the Avs need to win more often to win game. But the Avs have been down before, heck, sometimes it feels like the Avs let in the first goal every game so there is nothing to worry about, right? Nope.

Three minutes later on the powerplay, Ryan Ellis scored his second career goal putting the Preds up by 2, still early in the period. The Avs simply can’t have a start like that. After a very disappointing game in St. Louis they should have came out flying, showing that the St. Louis game was a fluke, but did not at all. They were out shot 13-6 in the period.

Nashville was not done scoring in the first though. Martin Erat added a goal with 5 minutes left in the period and essentially put the game out of reach for the Avs in the first period. Varlamov maybe should have stopped it, but it looked like a great shot.

There is simply no way the Avs are going to score 4 goals against Pekka Rinne, when Shea Weber and Ryan Suter are hurt. On top of all of that, the Avs are without their best player, and 2 solid defenseman who are productive offensively.

I would have liked to see O’Brien play against his former team, but it’ll have to wait.

One thing that I have noticed with the Avs is they seem to struggle against bigger goalies. Rinne, Mike Smith, Devan Dubnyk, they rarely seem to score against them. I don’t know how to explain it, but it seems to be true more often than not.

The Avs did have a bright spot during the game. O’Reilly scored a tip in powerplay goal late in the third. I thought this might change the momentum heading into the third, and if the Avs could get a goal in the first half of the period they might have a chance to get one more and at least get one point. But from what I saw in the third period, not only did they not score, I didn’t even see a very good chance to.

Nashville added a goal late in the third to put a little salt in the wound. Really the only reason I’m mentioning this is I assume most people turned the game off by then.

The Avs still have a tough game ahead of them if they want to get back on track, when they play Nashville again on Thursday. A loss here would really hurt their position in the west. They are currently 10th, sitting 2 points back of 8th.

The Avs next game is Thursday against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone arena. The game starts at 6 p.m. Mountain time.

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