After 182 days, exactly 26 weeks to the day, the Colorado Avalanche's 2011-12 season has come to a close. In my mind the season ended far too prematurely this team was absolutely good enough to make the playoffs. When it came down to it though, they just couldn't win the big games when they needed to. For those that follow me on Twitter (@Derek_B_MHH), you saw just how I feel about Joe Sacco. I feel change is needed, but there will be time to get into that later on in the summer. For now, we are going to celebrate the season that was for the Colorado Avalanche.
Heading into tonight's game the Colorado Avalanche had nothing more to play for than personal pride. After the first period it didn't seem like they felt like they were playing for much because their effort just was not there.
Matt Duchene was able net his 14th goal of his injury filled season in the first period to tie the game at 1. It would not last though, just over 4 minutes later Craig Smith gave the Preds a 2-1 lead.
If the Avs wanted to have any chance of trying to come back in this game, it went out the window with the goal that went in just before the buzzer went off to end the first period. It was Patric Hornqvist's 27th goal of the season.
The Avs effort in the second period definitely improved from that which was given in the first, but Preds goalie Anders Lindback stuffed all of the great chances the Avs threw at him during the second period. The Preds then just about put the game out of reach with just under 4 minutes to play in the second when Roman Josi potted his 5th goal of the season on a pretty play.
The Avs would finally earn a power play near the end of the second period as Craig Smith was called for hooking. The Avs didn't convert on the 15 seconds of power play they had at the end of the second period, but would have a minute and 45 seconds of carry over time in the third period. The Avs were unable to convert on the chance and the score would remain 4-1.
Then the floodgates opened up. True to form, the curse of former Avs players is alive and well. Brandon Yip was able to somehow stuff a wraparound shot between the legs of Jean-Sebasten Giguere as he was being hauled down to the ice. Just over 5 minutes later Giguere would give up another soft goal as Matt Halischuk sent a wrister that found it's way to the back of the net., it was his 15th goal of the season to make it 6-1 Predators.
MHH Avalanche 3 Stars of the Night
- 1 Matt Duchene, 1G, 14th of the season
- 2 Ryan O'Byrne, Team high 6 hits
- 3 Cody McLeod, 1A, Finished the season w/ 10 points, has he played his last game in Denver?
- 1 Landeskog-O'Reilly-Mueller
- 2 Jones-Stastny-McGinn
- 3 Duchene-Olver-Hejduk
- 4 McLeod-McClement-Kobasew
- 1 O'Byrne-Johnson
- 2 Hejda-Hunwick
- 3 Barrie-Wilson
- 1 The Avs closed out their season with a loss for the second time in three years under Joe Sacco.
- 2 The Avs finished the season with a negative goal differential for the second time in three years under Joe Sacco.
- 3 Could this have been Milan Hejduk's last game as a member of the Colorado Avalanhce?
NHL.com Recap & Highlights
Cleaning out player's stalls, packing up the locker room, and booking flights home. While some consider the improvement this season over last year is a success, I'm not one. While I do think the team made some tremendous steps forward and has a bright future, I am a firm believer that if you don't make the playoffs in the NHL you cannot call the team's season a success. Because let's be honest with ourselves here, as a player, you don't play in the NHL to just to play 82 games and go home.
Some people are happy with "giving it the old college try" and if it doesn't work out in the end, it's ok because you tried really hard. I am not one of them. I have no shame in admitting that I cried after the game against the Blue Jackets and was pretty emotional for a few hours after the game. I've been told that I take my Avalanche way too seriously, especially since I don't even play for the team, but am merely just a fan. I'm sorry, I just don't know how to be a casual hockey fan. And based on some of the tweets and Facebook status updates from a lot of my friends and fellow MHHers, neither do you. I'm not satisfied with mediocrity and I'm glad that a lot of you aren't either. So until next season, GO AVS!!!!