Avalanche

Are the Avalanche in deep trouble, or is this just a temporary slump?

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY

This column about the Avalanche was going to be pretty negative originally. That's why I'm going to include what I had written before Carl Soderberg tied the game up with just 1:50 left in regulation, a goal that got the Avalanche a point on New Year's Eve against the Los Angeles Kings.

I was soooooooooo looking forward to erasing the whole damn thing and writing that this was the most inspirational comeback win since the 1991 Buffalo Bills against the Houston Oilers, and Happy New Year Avs fans and let's party.

And then overtime happened. And then that story of feelgood inspiration went right out the damn window, and I'm left to try and make sense of what not only just happened with the Avs and what has been happening for a couple weeks ago.

So, I'm going to accentuate the positive here, because I've been accused of being a little too negative again lately and haven't always expressed things the way I wanted and, hey, it's New Year's Eve and who wants to be Debbie Downer on New Year's Eve?

I thought the Avs got a big point in this thing in their 3-2 OT loss to the team with the fewest points in the league coming in, the Kings. Soderberg made a great deflection of a Tyson Barrie shot, everybody wearing an Avs sweater played really desperate hockey in the final minutes and they rightfully set the fans rockin' into the New Year there for a few minutes anyway.

And then came overtime.

The Avs are 1-8 this year in OT. One and eight. A bad line change was the culprit in this one. Mikko Rantanen was a bit too late making a change, Gabe Landeskog therefore couldn't get out on the ice in a good defensive position and Dustin Brown slipped in behind him, Erik Johnson and Carl Soderberg for a breakaway and that was that.

But again, I thought it was a big point. That point they got might make the difference in them making the playoffs. I thought it was a bad point the other night against the last-place team in the Central Division, the Chicago Blackhawks, but this was a good point.

If that makes any sense.

Jared Bednar tried to make sense of another botched OT, and seemed to have trouble doing so. But, he said it mostly all comes down to his team making too many mental mistakes in these five-minute stretches (and, heck, most of these OT games have been over fast, just like this one).

Bednar was really exasperated-looking in trying to explain why a team that should be much better than this in a 3-on-3 situation, a team with young legs and a lot of skill, has left EIGHT points on the table so far in OTs.



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