The Colorado Avalanche likely won't be issuing apologies tonight, so I'll do so on their behalf: I am so sorry you had this abomination of a hockey game. No one deserves this—ever. It's cruel and unusual and in a perfect world, somebody would be held criminally responsible.
It appeared the Avalanche took the ice prior to the start of tonight’s game. I mean, I watched Burgundy & Blue jerseys skate around and practice hockey-like things before Winnipeg’s 7:15 EST puck drop. However, that appears to have been a cruel illusion—if the Avalanche showed up, the only way you could tell was from the four penalties they took.
Rookie sensation Patrik Laine got Winnipeg on the board early, skating into Colorado’s zone, pulling up and circling around and blasting a monstrous slap shot through traffic. It appeared the shot was slightly redirected by Matt Duchene’s stick, but the puck would end up in the back of the Avalanche net nonetheless. The goal was Laine’s 32nd of the year.
Later in the period, Blake Comeau took an interference penalty against Joel Armia, setting up the Jets’ first power play. After getting set up in the offensive zone and making a couple of quick passes, Blake Wheeler ended up with the puck wide open inside the left circle. Nathan MacKinnon, standing in the logical path toward to the net, stood tall and attempted to block the ensuing shot, but he would just manage to screen his only goalie, who watched helplessly as the puck sailed into the far side of the net to put Winnipeg up 2-0.
Then the Jets scored again, just 15 seconds later. Mark Scheifele, without Nikita Zadorov forcing him into a game-long fetal tuck, skated up the middle of the ice as Nikolaj Ehlers brought the puck into the zone and slid a pass cross-ice to Patrick Laine. The entire viewing audience drew their breath as the rookie would up another slap shot, but he instead sent a brilliant pass to Schefele on the doorstep for an easy tap-in.
The Avalanche would manage just eight shot attempts the entire period—and only three of those would find the net. More disturbingly, the team would take four penalties in the opening frame. Last time I checked, taking more penalties than shots-on-goal was not a winning formula, The 3-0 score after 20 minutes only affirmed this.
Sadly, the second period would not go much better. Ben Chirot would score seven minutes in after some of the most incompetent backchecking I’ve ever seen. Really, I can’t bring myself to explain it, so just take a look yourself. Like the first period, Winnipeg would score again on their very next shot. The Avalanche kicked it around in their own zone for a bit before Blake Wheeler caught the puck in empty space and appeared to be lining up a shot. But he, too, dished a great pass to the far side of the net for an easy tap-in by Nikolaj Ehlers. Poor Calvin Pickard never stood a chance.
Full disclosure: I missed the third period. I got in my car and drove to meet some friends and do something—anything—more worth my time than watching this godforsaken team. Apparently Winnipeg scored again and Landeskog tipped a goal in with about fifteen seconds remaining, like that’s supposed make us feel any better.
The Avalanche will attempt hockey again tomorrow night. Brace yourselves.