Guys, I'm going to level with you: writing a recap for a game like tonight is hard. It's not just the losing part. I mean, hockey teams lose games. It's the effort, execution, and persistent team flaws that make games like this hard to watch, let alone sit down and write about afterward. Anyone lucky enough to turn off the television sometime during the 2nd Period tonight and go read a book, I envy you. The Avalanche weren't coming back. You could see it in their skating, their body language, their listless efforts at the net -- once Vancouver got up 2-1 with 3:38 left, Colorado was going to lose. It's demoralizing to watch after watching winning hockey up until the All-Star break.
Did no one tell the Avs to come back from vacation? Because after an 0-3-1 homestand, it sure seems like it.
The 1st Period offered a glimmer of hope. The shots were close, Colorado was getting good open-ice opportunities, and toward the end, they were drawing copious amounts of penalties. Three two-minute minors to be exact, all with under 3:36 left. If you do some quick math, you'll discover the Avs got no one, but TWO, 5-on-3 power plays and scored on neither. And it's not like they didn't have chances. MacKinnon was fed two juicy one-timers in the slot and missed the net both times. Canucks goalie Jakob Markstrom was also a factor, parking his 6'6" frame in a strong butterfly between the posts and minimizing rebounds. Not optimal, but with the score tied 0-0, most watching were hopeful they had a chance.
And then Francois Beauchemin scored early in the 2nd off a feed from below the goal line from Jarome Iginla. The defenseman had pinched in from the right circle, caught the puck, and fired a top-shelf, glove-side wrister above Markstrom to put the Avs up 1-0. However, with seemingly all Avs' 2nd Period leads, it was not to last. Matt Bartkowski would score and then so would Sven Baertschi late in the period to give the Canucks their first lead.
Big Avs comeback? Extra effort up the ice? Near misses? Shots off the post? Anything...?
Nope, nothing at all. Sloppy breakouts, fistfuls of icings and offsides, another Vancouver goal, and a mostly uneventful 6-on-5 for three minutes before the game ended with a whimper. The Avs fell to 0-3-1 on the post-All-Star-break homestand and will now head out on the road trying to figure out what the hell happened the past week and a half.
Schmucks? All of 'em.