Well, it finally happened.
On Tuesday night, the Colorado Avalanche found themselves on the wrong side of the final score against the Montreal Canadiens, dropping a 4-2 decision to bring a decades-best win streak to a shattering halt.
In the pregame against Toronto, I’ll admit it: I made a quip that of COURSE Jonathan Bernier would start, because he was winning everything. And really, why end a good thing?
The team took that, of course, to mean ‘start him in back to backs against a pair of desperate Atlantic Division clubs’, and the win streak came to an end.
Here’s a look at the game they lost, then a fly-back through all of the recaps of their wins since coming back from the Christmas Break:
Post-mortem: Game 11, Montreal 4 Colorado 2
What else is there to say? The team lost. They lost to a really bad team that can’t buy a goal and has struggled to support the best goaltender in the game right now.
GAME 10: COLORADO 4 TORONTO 2
This is where it ends: the last of the Mohicans, or something like that. (It’s nothing like that.)
This was a hard-fought game, and in retrospect the team expended a lot of energy to claw out the win. They won in regulation, but it looks like the effort ultimately left them high and dry when they went to play the very next night.
GAME 9: COLORADO 3 NEW YORK RANGERS 1
Did you think that a tired, heavily-worked Jonathan Bernier could defeat Henrik Lundqvist?
Well, if you thought yes, you’d be correct. Hank has been playing behind the league’s worst defensive roster across the entire year, and it’s ultimately leaving him in a position where he’s giving up games. Luckily for the Avs, this was one of them.
GAME 8: COLORADO 5 SAN JOSE 3
This was a tough game. It was chock full of penalties, and both teams got some serious scoring in.
But when all was said and done, the Avalanche gave Martin Jones hell, and the team’s offense just wasn’t able to make up for it. That made eight in a row, and on to the Eastern Conference teams.
GAME 7: COLORADO 3 ANAHEIM 1
We gave a lot of coverage to the fact that Jonathan Bernier swept his former club during this streak, beating the Toronto Maple Leafs in bookend wins during the 10-game ride.
What goes a little under the radar, though, is that Anaheim gave Bernier a chance to redeem himself last season. Which, really, if you think about it, is what brought him here this year.
I mean, I guess thank you, Anaheim?
GAME 6: COLORADO 4 DALLAS 1
Remember when Ben Bishop was the league’s front-runner for a Vezina a few years ago, or something?
GAME 5: COLORADO 7 MINNESOTA 2
This was Milan Hejduk retirement night, but I think I’ll remember it best as the game that the team bullied Devan Dubnyk, I wrote you a recap about it, and then 64 comments later realized that you all really hate Tom.
(That’s super mean, btw. He bought my daughter an alphabet book about hockey for my baby shower two years ago.)
GAME 4: COLORADO 2 COLUMBUS 0
The Blue Jackets have two of the best goalies in the league, and Jonathan Bernier gets the shutout. Yes, this is real life.
GAME 3: COLORADO 3 WINNIPEG 2
Can I call this the Erik Johnson game?
I’m going to call this the Erik Johnson game. What a hero.
GAME 2: COLORADO 6 NEW YORK ISLANDERS 1
The first time Colorado played the Islanders, they got stomped after losing Matt Duchene in the middle of a shift.
This time, the tables turned just a bit.
WIN STREAK GROUND ZERO: COLORADO 4 MAPLE LEAFS 3 (OT)
In retrospect, it appears that the Avalanche may have just come full circle.
They won their first game of the win streak against the Leafs, and won their last of the win streak against the Leafs before things fell apart just one night later.
I’m not saying that Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly slipped some magic elixir into Jonathan Bernier’s water bottle to give him some magical run, then turned him into a pumpkin again on Monday. But... I’m also not saying that DIDN’T happen, do you feel me?