After a nine-day break, the Colorado Avalanche were hoping to begin their last 32 games of the 2018-2019 season with a victory. Unfortunately for them, they were not able to achieve this goal.
Instead, the Avalanche were blown out 5-1 in their own building by the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night. To add insult to injury, the loss puts the Avalanche out of a playoff spot. Coincidentally, the two points boosts the Canucks past the Avalanche and into the final wildcard spot.
The Avalanche found themselves down early in the contest. Just a minute and 32 seconds into the game, right-winger Jake Virtanen fired a shot over the shoulder of goaltender Semyon Varlamov after receiving a beautiful pass from teammate Antoine Roussel.
The Canucks would make the score 2-0 a little over six minutes into the contest. The Avalanche gave right-winger Brock Boeser too much time and space to stick handle in the high slot area. The former 2015 first-round pick made them pay by rifling a blistering wrist shot bar down on Varlamov.
The second period began with more scoring courtesy of the Canuck’s offense. Roussel was left all alone at the bottom of the right faceoff circle. The 29-year-old then blew the puck by the blocker side of Varlamov after receiving a behind the net pass from forward Bo Horvat seven and a half minutes into the frame.
The Avalanche would finally get on the score sheet a little over 11 minutes into the second. Left-Winger Matt Calvert deflected a one-timer from the point by defenseman Nikita Zadorov to cut the Canuck’s lead down to two goals.
Unfortunately for the Avalanche, that would be the sole goal they score in the contest. Forward Tyler Motte would respond right back for the Canucks with a little under five minutes left in the frame. The 23-year-old tipped in a shot from the top of the offensive zone by defenseman Troy Stecher to put the score at 4-1.
Right-winger Nikolay Goldobin would seal the deal for the Canucks with just over six minutes left in the contest. The former 2014 first-round pick scored a power play goal after launching a lethal wrist shot from inside the left faceoff circle.
The loss sinks the Avalanche down to only one game above .500. As of right now, their record stands at 22-21-8 with a total of 52 points. The victory improves the Canuck’s record to 24-22-6 and 54 points which propels them above the Avalanche.
The Avalanche are now 3-11-2 in their last 16 games. Four days before Christmas, the team held a record of 19-10-6 and were only a few points away from being first place in the Central Division. However, two days into the month of February, the Avalanche are now on the outside looking in with no sign of the tides turning anytime soon.
Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar tried to spread the wealth a little bit regarding the line combinations for the game against the Canucks. Forwards Colin Wilson and Alexander Kerfoot were upgraded to the first-line and played alongside Nathan MacKinnon.
Meanwhile, right-winger Mikko Rantanen and left-winger Gabriel Landeskog were sent down to the second-line and skated with forward Carl Soderberg in order to hopefully increase secondary scoring. Sadly for Bednar, his plan failed miserably as neither line notched a goal in tonight’s game.
The Avalanche will have two days off before concluding a five-game home stand on Tuesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. In the previous meeting this season, the Blue Jackets bested the Avalanche in Columbus by a score of 5-2.