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Poor Special Teams Doom Avs to 5-1 Loss to Toronto

The Maple Leafs scored five goals tonight. Four of which came on their own power plays, one of which came from Colorado power plays. Hockey history shows that is not good.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Avalanche rode into Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night full of confidence and momentum. Coming in with a three game win streak and an absolute demolishment of the league's best team in their own arena, the Avalanche pulled a very Avalanche kind of move in that they then lost to one of the league's worst teams in very ugly fashion.

Not many people currently wearing Avalanche uniforms played well, Maple Leafs players who used to wear Avalanche uniforms did play well, and any time the game wasn't even strength, most Avs fans most likely had the urging desire to put the blade of a hockey stick in their eyes.

1st Period

Colorado’s special teams tonight were putrid, and the first power play of the game for either side gave a good indicator as to how things would go. The Avs got a man-advantage after a holding penalty by Byron Froese, and some disorganization from the Avs in the attacking zone led to a retreat, and Nathan MacKinnon being pushed right off the puck by Shawn Matthias. A sound pass to Leo Komarov and questionable defense by Tyson Barrie allowed Komarov to fire a laser that zoomed past Reto Berra’s flashing glove.

Toronto got their first power play late in the period off Blake Comeau committing a high-sticking penalty, and our old friend P.A Parenteau got wide open in the slot and was free to send in a quick wrist shot that Berra had no chance on. Just bad defense from the Avs, particularly from Erik Johnson who was responsible for P.A’s openness.

2nd Period

Midway into the middle period, the Maple Leafs got to play 5 on 4 hockey agains the Avalanche once more, this time off a penalty from, you guessed it, Blake Comeau again, for interfering with one of the Maples. Nice setup on this one from Toronto, as Tyler Bozak (who assisted on the first period Parenteau goal) got the score, but this one again stemmed from questionable defense from Johnson, who abandoned his side of the ice to chase the puck along the end boards. He did not get the puck, nor did anyone else wearing white and burgundy, so it came to be the wrong decision.

Johnson made up for his sketchy defense by putting up the sole Colorado tally twelve minutes into the third after getting assistance from the Avalanche’s blazing hot duo of MacKinnon and Duchene. A nice wrist shot from Condor cut the deficit to two, and there were hopes of an Avalanche comeback on the rise, but that did not happen. Toronto finished the period very strongly and quite frankly unlikely not to go into the last twenty minutes up 4-1, thanks to some impressive #Berracade moments.

3rd Period

The final third of the game featured more abysmal special teams defense from the Avs. Parenteau got his second goal of the night as a result of a high-sticking infraction on Francois Beuchemin. That led to Reto Berra being pulled and our first glimpse of Calvin Pickard this season. Poor Picks watched Brandon Gormley put a center ice face-off win directly into the Air Canada Centre stands, for some odd reason. James van Riemsdyk scored and former Avalanche Matt Hunwick assisted, so yeah, just lots of sadness and frustration.

Mr. Fish's Three Sardines:

#3: Matt Duchene

Once again he was the best player on the ice for the Avs, something that hasn't changed for the team during this road trip. He had his chances, just couldn't quite squirt another goal in tonight. He and Mack are a bundle of joy to watch. Please don't ever break them up, Roy. I beg of you.

#2: Peter Holland

The man had three assists tonight. That's not bad.

#1: P.A Parenteau

I don't regret not having P.A on the team very often, but tonight I did. He looked very good. Granted most NHL players look good when they get to take on the Avalanche's defense, but tonight had to have been sweet for #15.

Mr. Fish's Three Flounders:

#3: Erik Johnson

Yes he scored, but bad power play defense by Johnson really put the Avs behind the 8-ball. The condor played a game tonight more on par with that of a sparrow's.

#2: Blake Comeau

Other than being sent to the penalty box, which you are not supposed to do, Comeau was quite unnoticeable for the Avalanche tonight. Not his best game by a long shot.

#1: Nate Guenin

I know I'm not the first one to say this, but how is he playing hockey at an NHL level? Guenin's hockey IQ level can't be any higher than that of his jersey number. Nothing he did tonight did anything to benefit the Avalanche. It hurts watching him try to play.

Notes:

-Chris Wagner, whom Colorado acquired from waivers from Anaheim earlier this week, suited up for his first game tonight. Did he do anything special? No. He had one little scuffle in which he threw a Leaf down to the ice which was cool. Looked like he skated hard and tried his hardest, but pretty quiet debut for the newest Avalanche.

-The Avs are now halfway through this hellacious road trip. Next step is Thursday at Pittsburgh, then they wrap it up Saturday at Washington, then Monday against the Jets.

-Toronto is only three points out of third place in the Atlantic now, somehow. Besides Montreal, who might already have clinched a playoff spot (sarcasm), Ottawa, Detroit, Florida, Tampa Bay, Boston, Buffalo, and these here Maple Leafs are separated by five points at the most. Will they make the playoffs? Probably not, but stranger things have happened.