This probably isn't the greatest idea I've ever had, but after having a lot of fun doing yesterday's Top 10 Lopsided Avalanche wins, I figured the right thing to do was balance it out by looking at 10 of the toughest losses in Avalanche history. I didn't want to do it...but I risked pissing of the hockey karma gods if I didn't. And, there is a bit of a silver lining: only half of the losses here happened post-lockout.
1) Calgary 9, Colorado 1. February 14th, 2011. I think everyone knows that the St Valentine's Day massacre is the Avs' worst loss of all time. And, I think most people know that it wasn't even the worst Avalanche news of the day. Earlier in the day and just hours before what was to be his Pepsi Center season debut, Peter Forsberg abruptly retired. The team came out flat that night and never competed. The Flames took advantage of a little stat-padding generosity on the night - Jay Bouwmeester, for example, scored 1/6 of his season's points in the game.
2) Detroit 7, Colorado 0. May 31st, 2002. This game actually didn't happen, but since it's existence is so heavily rumored (like unicorns and Marv Albert's hair) that I reluctantly decided to include it. According to mythology, the Avalanche had a 3-2 series lead in the Western Conference Finals, but some broken Statue of Liberty in Game 6 and then a meltdown in Game 7 along with some lucky goaltending from Dominick Hasek sunk the Avalanche. Sad story...if it were true.
3) Phoenix 7, Colorado 0. November 26, 1999. Jeremy Roenick had 3 goals and an assists while Keith Tkachuk had 4 points and Dallas Drake added 3 for the Coyotes. The Avs would get the last laugh here though, as they beat Phoenix 4 games to 1 when they met in the playoffs later that year.
4) Detroit 7, Colorado 0. March 22, 1996. This pre-Blood Feud game did actually happen, unlike the entry at #2. Seven different Red Wings beat Patrick Roy and Stephane Fiset, while Mike Vernon needed to make just 15 saves for the shutout. As with #3, things worked out okay in the end as the Avalanche dispatched the Red Wings in the playoffs on their way to a Stanley Cup victory.
5) Edmonton 8, Colorado 1. March 19, 2009. This one occurred in the middle of an 8-game losing streak late in the 2009 season as part of the Tank it for
Tavares Hedman Duchene campaign. The Avalanche defense that night included Derek Peltier, Michael Vernace and Lawrence Nycholat. Cody McLeod scored his 14th goal of the season in the game (he has 13 in the two-plus-a-bit seasons since then).
6) Detroit 6, Colorado 0. May 22, 1997. For the love of Howard, what's with all these fucking Red Wing games on the list? You'd think it was a rivalry or something (that or the fact that FOURTEEN players had double-digit penalty minutes in the game). It was a bitter loss for the Avs, who fell 3-1 in the Conference Finals Series. They'd win the next game (ironically, by the same 6-0 score), but Detroit would win Game 6 and then some fucking trophy or something.
7) Calgary 7, Colorado 1. March 7, 2004. Oleg Saprykin had two goals (!) and Philippe Sauve got shelled (about a year before being traded to...Calgary). Interestingly, 9 guys on the Flames roster that game were either past or future Avs (Shean Donovan, Chuck Kobasew, Jordan Leopold, Dean McAmmond, Ville Niemenen, Robyn Regehr, Steve Reinprecht, Chris Simon and Stephane Yelle). Perhaps the Avalanche had their heads elsewhere; after the game, they flew to Vancouver to play in the [name redacted] game (also #3 on the Most Lopsided Wins list)
8) Detroit 8, Colorado 2. May 1st, 2008. The Avalanche were severely banged up and by the time they got to Game 4 in their 2nd round series against Detroit, the outcome of the series was inevitable. Last game in an Avalanche unipron for Jose Theodore, Andrew Brunette, Kurt Sauer and Jeff Finger and the last playoff game for Super Joe (who had 2 assists in a losing effort).
9) Vancouver 8, Colorado 2. November 14, 2009. This is a game that didn't happen at the time, but now it doesn't seem all that painful. Vancouver went up 4-0 after two. The Avalanche battled back to make it 4-2 and then caved in the last 10 minutes allowing 4 late goals to seal the blowout loss.
10) San Jose 5, Colorado 0. April 22, 2010. The real damage had been done two nights before, when Joe Pavelski scored in overtime to even the series at two apiece. That pretty much popped the Avs' playoff bubble and this game was never much of a contest. This is actually one of 10 5-goal losses for the Avs and this is the one I grabbed out of a hat randomly.