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Losses, frustration mounting

January 10, 2019, 3:54 PM ET [7 Comments]
Rick Sadowski
Colorado Avalanche Blogger •Avalanche Insider • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The losses are mounting and so is the frustration.

Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon wasn’t a happy camper in the waning seconds of the latest defeat on Wednesday, a 5-3 loss in Calgary despite outshooting the Flames 35-16.


Though interesting (and entertaining) to watch, I don’t know that the flare-up is that big of a deal. MacKinnon, and the rest of the Avalanche, are ticked off over what’s been happening since early December, as they should be, and a public display of emotion probably was inevitable.

There’s plenty of reason for the anger.

Discounting the empty-net goal in each of the first two games of this five-game road trip, the Avalanche have scored seven goals and allowed 10, yet they’ve outshot Winnipeg and Calgary by a combined 76-35.

They are 1-6-2 in the past nine games, have allowed four or more goals in 10 of the past 17 games, permitted 19 power-play goals in this stretch and posted a 4-10-3 record.

Colorado has lost six in a row on the road (0-5-1) heading into Saturday’s game in Montreal, with games in Toronto and Ottawa to follow.

The Avalanche are barely hanging onto a playoff spot with 48 points in 44 games; they still have the first wild card, but are just two points ahead of second wild card Anaheim, three in front of ninth-place Minnesota and five ahead of 10th-place Vancouver.

That could change with the outcomes of Thursday’s games.

“It's tough," Mikko Rantanen told reporters. "When you're winning, everything is fun and it's fun to come to the rink and work and stuff. A losing streak, or not winning, it's obviously tougher. There's a lot of good players in this room and everybody knows it. We just have to find a way to turn it around."

The Gabriel Landeskog-MacKinnon-Rantanen line combined for 23 of the Avalanche’s 35 shots on Wednesday (Landeskog had an NHL-high 12 and has a career-high 27 goals), two goals and three assists.

Defensive mistakes? There’ve been too many, but the goaltending has been just awful. Semyon Varlamov allowed four goals on 15 shots against the Flames, one night after Philipp Grubauer gave up six goals on 20 shots against the Jets.

Why not bring up Pavel Francouz to see what he can do? He stopped 33 of 35 shots in two relief appearances following stinkers by Grubauer and has been named to the AHL All-Star Game.

Drop one of the fourth-liners – they barely play and aren’t contributing much of anything -- and recall Francouz.

Something needs to be done, and fast.

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