photo courtesy of David Zalubowski/AP
I only watched the Predators play the Avalanche twice this season. The first time was live in Nashville, and the second time was last night. In both cases, the Avs got shut out 4-0. In the two games I missed, Colorado won.
Clearly, I am never allowed to watch the Avs play the Predators ever again, no matter what.
Aside from my own personal jinx, Colorado took a giant dump on the ice last night, and the defense abandoned Jose Theodore pretty much completely. The Avs took plenty of shots on goal, but a superb Dan Ellis (who?) shut them down on every chance and made it look far too easy. The combination of no defense and a brick wall between them and the opposing goal was just too much for the Avs to overcome.
But, while the D (especially Karlis Skrastins, who looked awful) channeled the Miami Dolphins, Theo isn't free of blame. In fact, at least three of the four goals he allowed were stoppable. It looks like nine straight games was one too many for him, and his predicted meltdown finally came.
Not surprisingly, I blame Coach Q. Though he's finally playing his goalies consistently, he still doesn't really get how the whole goalie thing is supposed to work. So, in an effort to help him, I'll turn now to the Nashville Predators, who have it figured out:
"I know my role and I like it," said Ellis, who plays behind Chris Mason. "I'm comfortable making starts after Chris has played the night before and I feel good playing after not playing for several days."
It was the fourth shutout of the season for Ellis, who improved to 11-5-1 and gave the Predators their third straight win.
"I stay sharp by working on as much of my game as can in practice," Ellis. said. "I stay calm by staying light and not too serious between starts and then really dial it in and become focused when I do start."
Mason had started the previous four games, including Monday night's victory over St. Louis.
"You can see we don't have any drop off when we start Dan," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "He gives us quality goaltending every time we need to give Chris some time off."
See, Q? That's how it works. The starting goalie (whoever that may be) plays for a few games, win or lose, and then when he needs a rest, the backup plays. Not nine games straight (or more) just because he's winning at the moment, and not every other game like that fiasco early in the season. Why can't Jose Theodore, if he is in fact the starter, play five games and then take one off, play five games and then take one off, etc? Why does Q have to run his goalies into the ground both physically and mentally?
Anyway, the Avs sucked hard last night. I hope they can shake it off and get back to business.
Stars of the Game:
- The Predators.