Game 66. Avs-Penguins. Avs Season Fading Away.

Posted: March 3, 2012 in Avs vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, Game Thoughts

As soon as I heard Giguere was starting tonight, I knew the Avs had no chance. Against one of the most talented teams in the NHL, it makes no sense to start a goalie that almost never makes a save that when the puck would not hit him anyway. AWFUL decision by Sacco.

The Avs had a decent start to the game tonight, but didn’t generate many chances. They were holding their own with the Pens for about eight mintues until Aaron Asham blasted a slapper past Giguere’s glove. It was pretty weak defense for the Avs who let Asham skate right to the faceoff circle despite having even numbers in their zone. It was a weak goal all around, and it certainly opened the floodgates.

Less than a minute and a half later the Penguins added another one for good measure. This time it was Deryk Engelland who tipped a puck perfectly into the top left corner. No goalie can make that stop, and it was a good example of how deeply skilled this Penguins team is.

At this point in time, I don’t think there was an Avs fan out there who thought they had a chance in the game tonight. Pittsburgh is too good defensively and had too much momentum for the Avs to come back. But the Avs did manage to end the period only down by two, which led me to believe they would put up a fight tonight.


The Penguins came out in the second and continued the onslaught. Five minutes into the period, Evgeni Malkin found a rebound and was easily able to put the puck into the net. Giguere once again gave up on a play when he saw Malkin get the puck. No dive back, not even a stick reach back, he simply gave Malkin an open net to shoot at. It happened so quickly, and the angle left such an open net that it would have been a nearly impossible save, but I would like to see some effort from Giguere.

It is unbelievable how the fans continue to give Giguere a pass for every bad game he has, and won’t get off of Varlamov’s back for letting in a goal. The one thing I like about Varlamov is I know he would have at least challenged Malkin to make a save.

The Pens were not finished. Right as a powerplay expired for the Avs, Zbynek Michalek slipped the puck past an outreaching Erik Johnson to Richard Park who came out of the penalty box for a breakaway goal. Once again, Giguere has no chance at ever stopping a breakaway because he just stands in the crease. Including the shootouts he has been in and all the breakaways in games (probably around 5 or 6) I think he has actually stopped 1. So roughly 1 for 12. No exaggeration here when I say I could do that.

The third period was rather forgettable for the Avs. For the most part they just went through the motions and tried not to get blown out. The Avs did get on the board, when Matt Hunwick found the puck on a bit of a scramble and backhanded it into the goal. It was nice to see the Avs finally get the puck into the net after 5+ periods of scoreless hockey. It was a bit like watching the lottery drawing where you get the first 5 numbers wrong, but nail that sixth one- it’s nice I guess, but it does not really mean anything.

Matt Duchene is starting to worry me with his recent play and disappointing 3rd season

Most of the period was filled with the Avs missed chances and not capitalizing on powerplay opportunities. The Avs made a desperate move when they pulled Giguere with 3:49 seconds left in the game, and was in and out of the net until there was 2:40 left when he finally was kept off the ice because there were no stops in play. The Penguins quickly capitalized when Steve Sullivan found the empty net.

The Avs have now lost 2 in a row and have to travel to go play the 2nd half of a back to back in Minnesota. Given the Avs season long performance within the division and in back to back games, it easily could be 3 losses in a row, which would really hamper their playoff chances. Safe to say the Avs need another 4 or 5 game win streak to get back into the thick of the race.

Other thoughts:

-Since coming back from injury, Matt Duchene has been non existent in most of the games. He is starting to make me think he will not be the player everyone thought he would be. Just look at what Tavares and Evander Kane are doing compared to Duchene. It has me a bit worried.

-Jamie McGinn was another non factor tonight. Still give him the benefit of the doubt, but not for too much longer.

-The home and home series with the Wild could determine if the Avs make the playoffs. They need 4 points in the next 2 games.

The Avs next game is Sunday against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The game starts at 5 p.m. Mountain time.


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