Colorado dropped it's third straight game for the first time this year. With a win, the Avs would have moved into second place in the Northwest; instead, they drop into a tie with Calgary for last. Over the last two games, Colorado has put up 76 shots on the board, but only one has found the back of the net. There are rumors floating around that the team is looking to acquire an offensive forward, and, frankly, that couldn't come to fruition soon enough.
It's not that the Avs offense is bad; they are 2nd in the league in shots taken. But they aren't getting enough into the net. They rank just 14th in goals scored. A big part of that can be blamed on their 18th best powerplay. Game after game, Colorado has failed to convert with the man advantage, and it's come to bite them in the ass. I know a lot of people think that a good defenseman would be the best pickup, but I emphatically disagree. This team needs another scoring forward to help bolster their powerplay. I don't even want to type the rest of this sentence, but if something were to happen right now to Sakic or Hejduk, this team would probably sink like a stone.
Ryan Smyth has killed Colorado this year, with two goals in both of Edmonton's wins. Last night's goals were both highlight reelers. First was his amazing backhand deflection out of the air on the powerplay - a goal that Jose Theodore had absolutely no chance on. Then, less than two minutes later, Colorado turned over the puck on the powerplay deep in Edmonton's zone and then all 5 skaters essentially watched as Smyth just waltzed up the ice and deked out Theodore for the Oilers' first shorthanded goal of the year. I would have liked to see Theo stop that one - especially since it turned out to be the game winner - but it's hard to blame him when everyone else on the ice simply gave up on the play.
There was some controversy at the end of the game. With Colorado pressing for the tying goal, Ryan Smyth had a breakaway chance but John-Michael Liles threw out his leg in a desperate attempt to prevent the empty net goal. While it looked like Liles' move was more reflexive than anything else, Smyth landed akwardly to the ice and had to be helped off. It was an ugly play, and one that might get revisited in future games between these clubs. Not quite at Mooregate proportions yet, but it could spark this rivalry up a bit.
One final criticism before I go. The Avs had 9 minor penalties tonight, 6 of them after Smyth's ugly go-ahead goal. You aren't going to mount many comebacks with a player sitting in the penalty box.
Speaking of penalties, there's a new addition to the menu bar up top - Avs Stats. I've got unofficial penalty killing stats for each of the Avs that I'll be updating after each game. Eventually, I'm planning to add powerplay and even strength stats as well.
- It finally happened. With Skrastins in the box early in the 3rd period, Joel Quenneville finally sent Ossi Vaananen out on the ice to kill a penalty.
- Milan Hejduk has been the best Colorado forward on the ice in each of the last two games, leading his team in shots in each game. I wonder if Kelly Hrudey was watching.
- While I understand that the network's name is not "Aptitude", would it be that hard to hire some people with a clue? One game after using "Eric" Svatos in a network promo, someone misspelled "their" in a graphic detailing the Parros trade. And we're not talking mixed up homonyms here. We're talking T-H-I-E-R. I before E, people.