Game 60. Avs-Jets. Duchene Returns in Blowout Loss

Posted: February 19, 2012 in Avs vs. Winnipeg Jets, Game Thoughts

There are some nights were watching the Avs play is painful. Tonight was one of those nights.

Tonight was just awful. It is bad enough that it is a Sunday night, but when it is a Sunday night and the Avs play like they want to get onto the golf course as much as I do, it makes for a bad ending of a week. On top of all of this, I watched the Winnipeg feed- and they were awful. I have never heard people complain so much when their team is up 4-1. There was a brief time late in the game when the Avs had 6 skaters on the ice that the refs missed. But according to the Jets announcers, the refs just missed a Todd Bertuzzi sucker punch in overtime of game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Jets fans booed Duchene and O’Brien in the third period for no good reason. All O’Brien did was have a clean hit on Evander Kane and then took some punches from him, unprepared. And at the end of the game the fans cheer like they just won the Stanley Cup and drafted Sidney Crosby at the same time. I get it, you can be excited your team won, but really, everyone knew the game was over halfway through the third. Maybe this is just Sunday night talking, but wow, I don’t have much positive to say about Winnipeg right now.

As for the game, things were not much better. The Avs came out just how I expected. Slow, uninterested, and probably still coming down off of the high of winning a division game. They actually did a decent job of keeping the Jets from scoring, and left the first period tied at zero. Unfortunately, that was as good as it would get for the Avs.

The Jets came out, and 1:45 into the second period scored. But the story is how they scored. Evander Kane got the puck in the corner, circled behind the net, skated out to the high circle and shot a backhand that somehow beat Varlamov. Semyon was screened on the play, but the defense was just awful. No one touched Kane all the way from the corner to the opposite far circle. 0/1 on goals that are Varlamov’s fault

Ok, but the Avs normally allow the first goal, they can still come back, right? Nope. Less than two minutes later a miscommunication between Erik Johnson and Varlamov let to the puck bouncing off of Varlamov’s pad, right to Bryan Little who shot it into the wide open net. 1/2 on Varlamov

But the Avs did temporarily fight back, and Johnson made up for his mistake with a very nice play, where he used his body well, while carrying the puck up the ice, and made a nice pass to Landeskog for a goal. I now have no doubts in my mind that Landeskog is the Avs best player. He is by far the most consistant player, he is tied for the team lead in goals, and is leading them in shots and hits. Can anyone argue for anyone else?

But the Jets quickly came back and scored 46 seconds later when a shot deflected off Varlamov, off the glass, and straight to Kyle Wellwood who was right beside the net, and barely beat Varlamov’s pad to the post. It was not the best goal, and Varlamov just lost sight of the puck after the weird bounce for a second which resulted in the goal. Just to prove a point I will still put this one on Varlamov. 2/3

Onto the third, where 5:40 seconds in, Andrew Ladd sniped a corner to give the Jets a 4-1 lead. The play started on one side of the net, then behind the net, then to Ladd, who one timed the puck right in the corner, very quickly. The goal was on the powerplay, and a great shot, so there is no way Varlamov can be blamed. 2/4

The last goal, also came on the powerplay, when Dustin Byflglien rocketed a high slapshot towards Varlamov’s mask. He jumped to make the save, the puck hit him, fell straight down, where Bryan Little eventually found it and put it in the net. Shane O’Brien didn’t do a great job getting a stick on the puck, or tying up a Jet, which eventually led to the goal. Once again, not Varlamov’s fault. 2/5.

This picture cheered me up a bit

So two of the five goals were Varlamov’s fault. I say this because I know over the next couple of days all I am going to read about Varlamov is how terrible he is, and should not be starting, and how people can’t wait til Jiggy is back, and I just want to point out that this loss is not on Varlamov. No one will point out the Avs 6 penalties, or the Avs 5 powerplay opportunities, of which they only scored on one. Bottom line is, this loss is not Varlamov’s fault, but rather the whole team’s poor effort.

Other things I noticed:

-If Matt Duchene switched numbers without me knowing, I would have had no idea he was playing tonight. He was totally invisible in his first game back.

-Erik Johnson continues to play well. Four points in the last four games.

-Peter Mueller needs to get back on the ice. He is the Avs only decent goal scorer.

With wins from Minnesota and Anaheim today, the Avs are now only 2 points out of 13th in the west, and 3 points out of 8th. However all other teams have played 59 games, and the Avs have played 60.

The Avs next game is Wednesday against the Kings at Pepsi Center. The game starts at 7 p.m. Mountain time.


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