November 7, 2006. Pepsi Center, Denver. The 7-5-2 Avalanche, coming off of a 3-2 win against Vancouver, welcome the 4-9-3 Los Angeles Kings. The Avalanche play well in the first and have a 2-1 after 20 minutes. And then the lowly Kings score 4 2nd-period goals to chase Jose Theodore and the Avalanche end up losing a game they should have won, 6-5. The dejected Avalanche followed up that 1-goal regulation loss with 3 more - 1-0 to Nashville, 2-1 to Edmonton and 4-3 to San Jose. That 4-game losing streak was one of the low points of the 2006-2007 season.
November 16, 2007. The Avalanche were in first place in the Northwest, having beaten the Wild in a big game the previous Sunday. The confident Avs went in to Dallas...and got slaughtered 6-1 with Jussi Jokinen (4 goals) using Theodore for target practice. The next two games were just as bad, with 4-1 shellacings in Minnesota and Calgary (and none of the three games were even as close as those dismal scores indicate. The Avs had a few losing streaks longer than 3 games last year, but, in my mind, this was their worst play of the season by far. As an added bonus, less than a week after this streak ended, Joe Sakic suffered his "slight groin pull" hernia injury.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner (sorry, Canadian readers), and here we are again. The Avalanche are in the middle of their mid-November swoon. Do they hate turkey? Pilgrims? America? What is it?
There isn't much time to sort it out. The Avalanche play 5 games between this Saturday and next Saturday. With a 3-5 November record, this month is already off to a rough start.
Thankfully, the Avalanche are mostly done with the NW for a while - they have just 2 NW games between now and 2009. Colorado's opponents next week: Los Angeles (11th in their conference), Anaheim (7th), St Louis (last), Phoenix (12th) and Tampa (13th). There are no pushovers in the League of Parity, but these are games that the Avalanche can win.
None of the 5 are in the Top 10 in scoring (Colorado is currently *deep breath* 27th)
- LA (21st)
- Ana (13th)
- Stl (11th)
- Pho (25th)
- TB (30th)
But several are surprisingly solid defensively (the Avs are 17th)
- LA (8th)
- Ana (23rd)
- Stl (25th)
- Pho (7th)
- TB (13th)
On paper, these project to be relatively low-scoring games. I feel pretty good about Budaj and the defense right now (we'll probably also see a game or two from Raycroft, which is not so good). If Budaj can keep his team in the game - something he's done in each of the last 6 games - will our forwards finally be able to pull it together and salvage this terrible month? Do it for the turkeys, guys!
Next 5 Games
|@ Los Angeles||Sat 11/22||8:30 PM MST|
|@ Anaheim||Mon 11/24||8:00 PM MST|
|St. Louis||Wed 11/26||7:00 PM MST|
|@ Phoenix||Fri 11/28||2:00 PM MST|
|Tampa Bay||Sat 11/29||7:00 PM MST|
Last 5 Games
|Calgary||Thu 11/20||L 0 - 1|
|@ Calgary||Tue 11/18||L 1 - 4|
|@ Edmonton||Sat 11/15||SO - W 3 - 2|
|@ Vancouver||Wed 11/12||SO - W 2 - 1|
|Nashville||Sat 11/08||W 1 - 0|