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Colorado Avalanche smoked 6-1 by Winnipeg Jets

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Playoff hopes take a hit as Colorado Avalanche can't keep up with Central division foe

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Winnipeg Jets Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A glance at the box score in this meeting between the Colorado Avalanche and Winnipeg Jets doesn't tell the whole story.

Yes, the better team won handily in a 6-1 victory for Winnipeg - but the game was a 1-0 affair until just about the midpoint, and then Colorado's mistakes became too much for them to overcome.

Blake Wheeler got the Jets on the board at 10:09 in the first period, scoring off of a weird deflection between Jonathan Bernier and the post.

The Avalanche didn't let this break them, though, as they headed into the first intermission only down one.

At 10:49 of the second period, Kyle Connor got loose in the slot and had his shot tipped for Winnipeg's second goal - and then, the floodgates opened for the Jets. They would add both a shorthanded and power play goal to finish the period up 4-0, heading into the final frame with the game all but in hand.

The third period was total garbage time, with two more goals for the Jets before Mikko Rantanen broke the shutout and scored with just over six minutes remaining. The Avalanche up-and-comer finally got the team on the board with a nice individual effort and drive to the net - but with no additional help, a final score of 6-1 for Winnipeg was all she wrote in the last meeting this season between these two teams.

Takeaways

The better team prevailed in this contest, so perhaps the outcome was inevitable for a teamthat has been nearly unbeatable at home. Despite this, the Avalanche deserve some blame; going 0-5 on their power plays didn't help their cause in the least. They have been extremely ineffective on the man advantage, especially on the road, and it has been costing them momentum at best and games at worst. The power play has had stretches of success, but some reimagination might be in order.

AJ Greer always seems to be a hot topic among fans. He's an agitator that gets his nose dirty, and that lands him in the penalty box at times. Most of the time he's bringing someone else into the box with him. In tonight's scrap Greer had with Dustin Byfuglien, it was the latter who got an additional unsportsmanlike and misconduct penalties tacked on the the fighting major. Greer might be headed back to the AHL once Nathan MacKinnon is healthy, but he has left his mark. His brand of push back is something the Avalanche sorely lack , although that sentiment might offend some.

There's a chance MacKinnon will return in the next contest for the Avalanche, and not a moment too soon as he's been missed dearly. He brings an identity to the team and his speed, skill and production don't hurt either. But MacKinnon will not magically fix the problems this team has. The little competitive run they've had chasing a playoff spot is nice for entertainment after last year's abysmal season and experience for all the young players. However it is easy to lose sight of the fact that this season is year one of a rebuild and there's several steps yet to take before the Avalanche can go toe to toe with the league's best.

Upcoming

A quick stop at home for a matinee against the Edmonton Oilers at 1pm MT on Sunday, February 18th.