Game 65. Avs-Blue Jackets. Avs Fall In Trap Game, Get Shut Out

Posted: March 1, 2012 in Avs vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Game Thoughts

Talk about taking a team for granted. The Avs came out and assumed that because they beat the Jackets 5-0 a week ago, that they would win tonight. I kept thinking, there gonna turn it on now, there gonna turn it on, but it never happened. Absolutely awful game tonight.

The game didn’t start as bad as they normally do for the Avs. Columbus was still controlling the play early, but the Avs did have some good shifts. It looked like they were just skating around thinking, we can bury these guys anytime we want and were not that aggressive. Eventually the Jackets took advantage of the Avs laziness.

Landeskog took a holding penalty that led to the first goal. On the powerplay Nikita Nikitin fired a one timer from the point off the post and in for the first goal. The goal literally was 3/4 open. I can’t explain how the goal was so open, maybe Varlamov didn’t see it, but I could have scored on that shot.

I thought that this goal would spark the Avs. I thought it would make them realize they had to try hard, and actually play to win the game but they continued to float through the game.

To give the Avs some credit, every now and then they would have a good shift and keep the puck in CBJ’s zone for a minute or two at a time, but they never really generated a good chance.

Late in the second period, the Blue Jackets added another goal on a slapshot. This time it was Fedor Tyutin who skated in on the left side wing and fired one past Varlamov’s blocker. Goaltending in the NHL is 95% positioning, and when a guy fires a shot that beats your position, you have to give him credit because there is not enough time to react, and that is what Tyutin did.

Surely I thought this would get the Avs attention. A 2-0 lead late in the second is serious business. Normally I would have called the game over, but because it was the Blue Jackets I still had hope the Avs would turn things around. But nope, they continued to be nonchalant on the ice.

I know it is getting repetitive, but I don’t know what else I can say- it felt like they were just waiting to turn on their engine the whole game, but no one ever pressed the start button.

The Avs did have one great chance in the third when Jay McClement got a pass on a 2 on 1, but he was too close to the goal, and the pass was too far behind him to lift the puck over Mason’s pad. The Avs went down rather quietly after that.

Other notes from tonight’s game:

-Peter Mueller was good tonight. He generated most of the Avs good scoring chances, on the 4th line. He certainly should be moved up after tonight.

-Jamie McGinn was did not contribute AT ALL on the ice tonight. But neither did Steve Downie in his first game with the club so I will give him some more time before judging how he fits in.

-No one wants to say it, but Hejduk has been awful. He has NINE points in 2012. And it is March 1st everyone, in 2 months of NHL games, he has 9 points and only TWO goals. I know he is the captain, but he needs to be playing a whole lot less than he is.

-The Avs missed a huge opportunity tonight. They could have jumped into the eight seed in the playoffs, but instead they laid an egg against a terrible team. They missed a chance to win 5 in a row, and really build some momentum and instead will feel bad about their game for the next couple of days.

The Avs next game is Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Pepsi Center. The game starts at 7 p.m. Mountain time.

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