Game 6. Avs-Canucks. Road struggles continue as Avs lose third straight

Posted: January 30, 2013 in Avs vs. Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks took advantage of their opportunities, the Colorado Avalanche did not, which directly explains the 3-0 final score.

Roberto Luongo makes a save with the nub of his stick in the first period against the Avalanche. Photo from nhl.com

Roberto Luongo makes a save with the nub of his stick in the first period against the Avalanche. Photo from nhl.com


Believe it or not, I saw a lot of things I liked from the Avs tonight, starting with effort. The Avs started the game off strong, and controlled the play for the first seven minutes…right up until Vancouver scored the first goal on a Jason Garrison slapshot from the blueline. It was one that I think Semyon Varlamov would want back, but I’m not sure he saw it to begin with. But Erik Johnson deserves some blame too, as a bad turnover led to Garrison getting the puck at the point.

The Avs just struggled offensively tonight, and now have just 1 goal in their last 3 games. McGinn missed a backhand right in front of the net, where all he needed to do was shoot it into any part of the upper half of the goal. Matt Duchene wasn’t able to convert on a breakaway. The Avs had 1:25 of a 5-3 powerplay, and didn’t really have any decent chances. All of that adds up to another loss for the Avs.

The problem in my opinion is that the Avs are not going to the scoring areas on the ice. They’re keeping the puck on the perimeter, along the boards, along the blue line, behind the net, but almost never in the slot. Even during the Avs 5-3 powerplay, they were holding the puck along the half boards, shooting from angles, and just refusing to get the puck in high percentage areas.

And can someone tell me why Joe Sacco thinks Greg Zanon is a better option than Matt Hunwick? Sacco has never given Hunwick a fair shake, and Zanon cost the Avs tonight, allowing the Max Lapierre to score the second goal. Zanon wasn’t able to control the puck in the Canucks zone which led to a 2-1 and a goal between Varlamov’s legs.

The last goal for the Canucks came on the powerplay (big surprise) when Zach Kassian tipped a slap pass from Dan Hamhuis past Varlamov. The Avs were a lot better on the penalty kill tonight (3-4) but still couldn’t keep the Canucks off the board all together on the PK.

Photo from nhl.com

Photo from nhl.com


Despite the Avs offensive struggles, I thought some players still had good games. I liked what Milan Hejduk did tonight, he had a lot of decent chances, but just couldn’t beat Luongo, who also had a great game. But how about Michael Sgarbossa? I thought he had a great game. I can’t wait until he scores so the many puns with his name can be used. He was physical, especially for being 5’11”. He played his position well, and he created some good offensive chances…just give him some linemates! I think it was a mistake to play him with Hejduk and McLeod. Throw him right in there with Duchene and Parenteau, and I think he’ll thrive.

Right now though, I think the Avs struggles are coming from lack of scorers. This is nothing new for the Avs, and it seems like after every game for the last 2 years, that’s what I’ve been saying, but it remains true. Missing Landeskog, Downie, and O’Reilly certainly doesn’t help, but of the players that are out there, the most goals anyone has scored in a season is 28, and that was Paul Stastny’s rookie season. I’m going to go out on a limb, and say that would be one of the lowest numbers in the NHL. And Stastny has just 1 point in 6 games so far this year…that needs to improve.

Well, essentially I think the season comes down to tomorrow’s game. They can’t fall to 2-5, that’s 1/7th of the season after tomorrow’s game, and to only have 4 points would be unacceptable. And it will be no easy task as it’s another division/road/Calgary game.

Oh, and another high stick was missed tonight, as the Avs should have had a 4 minute powerplay early in the third, but somehow the refs missed it again. I swear the Avs get the fewest calls in the NHL. Actually, the stats back me up here.

The Avs next game is Thursday against the Flames in Calgary. The game starts at 7 p.m. Mountain time.

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