For a second I wondered if Ian Laperriere's crushing hit on Nicklas Lidstrom (and Lidstrom's subsequent exit due to injury) would spark the waning rivalry between the Avalanche and the Red Wings. But then I realized that you can't have a rivalry if one team never beats the other. After losing 4-0 last night, the Avs finished this season's series against Detroit with the same score: 4-0. Zero wins against a team they used to frustrate and infuriate on a regular basis just a few years ago.
The game last night was a sad, sorry affair, much like the season as a whole has started to become. The Red Wings went up 2-0 on two fairly lucky bounces and shots in the first period, but the Avs at least tied them for shots and seemed at least partially interested in playing hockey. After the first, though, it was all downhill. All the life drained out of the team and they coasted through the rest of regulation barely making an impact at all. They were outshot 40-18.
Of all the things to complain about, the worst incident during the whole game came during the first half of the second period, when Coach Q wouldn't stop running his mouth about something and got called for an "abuse of official" penalty. That wouldn't have been so bad if Ben Guite wasn't already in the box for a holding call. The subsequent 5-on-3 didn't last long, because Henrik Zetterberg buried a quick shot past Jose Theodore and effectively ended the game.
The third period started with a ridiculous scrum involving Lappy, Brett Lebda, Cody McLeod and Aaron Downey, with the only player not receiving a misconduct penalty being Lebda. Sure, it seemed like the bad blood was back between the Avs and the Wings, but really, the Wings got the best of it even if their captain has to sit out a few games. The Avs were completely embarrassed---in the fights and on the scoreboard.
The Avs have now lost four straight by a score of 12-3. Jose Theodore has done his best to minimize the damage, but he's gotten zero help on defense and the offense has packed it in for the season. Ryan Smyth has been completely useless since his return, and was totally invisible through almost the entire game last night. He played 17 minutes and had only one shot on goal.
It's time for a shakeup. The coaching staff needs to go and at least three or four players need to go. Honestly, I don't care who they are anymore. It's time to overhaul the team and get back on track, and quit waiting on the current setup to start winning games again. It's not going to do that.
This is just pathetic.
Stars of the Game:
- The Red Wings