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Recap: Panthers pounce on defenseless Avalanche

Let’s just forget about this one and move on.

Colorado Avalanche v Florida Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche have disappeared. Can you find them?

Ever since returning from the All-Star Break, this team has been far from the same. Such was the case in this game against the Florida Panthers, who took care of business in a 4-0 victory on home ice.

Colorado is now 0-3-1 on this season-long road trip, and no matter how the rest of it goes, will surely be disappointed in their efforts. It’s all part of a rough stretch for them as a whole, now 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. How can they shift the tides?

First Period

Florida brought the physicality early, with some big hits on Miles Wood and Andrew Cogliano. But it did also affect them as Aaron Ekblad took a holding penalty. But also similar to what we’ve seen as of late, the Avs did not score on the powerplay.

At the other end, Logan O’Connor’s tripping penalty would not go without being punished. The Avs lost track of Carter Verhaeghe in the crease, who was able to tap one home for the lead easily.

The Avs did respond well after the goal, with a few great shifts across multiple lines. But Sergei Bobrovsky stood on his head to keep the donut on the board for Colorado.

It would pay off big-time as Devon Toews’ hooking penalty would be capitalized by the Panthers' powerplay unit once again. This time, it was top-scorer Sam Reinhart all alone in the slot to put it over the shoulder of Alexandar Georgiev to double the lead.

Even with the late goal on the man advantage, neither team was done with their chances. Nathan MacKinnon had one shot go through the five-hole of Bobrovsky and the blue paint but was not put home. At the other end, Ryan Lomberg hit the post, meaning the Avs were a little lucky to only be down 2-0 heading into the intermission.

Second Period

The Panthers came out of the room and shut down the Avalanche. They couldn’t muster up anything on offense while Florida simply corralled the puck and went the other way.

The few chances which did come Colorado’s way came from the bottom six. Wood and Cogliano had rushed into the zone on the near side but didn’t get any good wood on their shots to beat Bobrovsky.

Meanwhile, the Panthers peppered Georgiev with the puck at the other end. At one point, there were nine shot attempts, six of them on net, in 27 seconds. It would eventually pay off for them in the final minutes, as a big rebound given up by Georgiev plus Ryan Johansen losing Eetu Luostarinen in the slot made it 3-0 with 20 minutes to go.

Third Period

There was a whole lot of nothing for the Avalanche in the third period. The most notable thing to point out was MacKinnon catching his skates in the net while going for a puck, causing him to fall hard on his chest and chin. He went to the locker room and did not return.

Florida never took their foot off the gas, even with the 3-0 lead. Aleksander Barkov, who hadn’t scored in eight games, managed to do so off a turnover and only made matters worse for Colorado.

The Avs gave no fight to the Panthers and quietly went into the night with their 4-0 loss and fourth straight loss on this rough road trip.

Takeaways

What an awful stretch of hockey for the Avalanche. This now makes it four straight losses, while seemingly not fighting in those losses. In the last two games in particular, offense has been extremely difficult to come by. Teams seemed to have figured out how to beat the Avs, and they can’t find a way to play around it. They may have to do it without their best player recently, with MacKinnon leaving the game in the third after falling hard on the ice. We’ll have to see what his status is in the coming days and hope for nothing long-term.

A lot of the issues have come on special teams in the last few games. Colorado is now 0-for-13 in their previous attempts while giving up two powerplay goals in this game alone. They also gave up a goal a man down last game as well against the Carolina Hurricanes. When you’re not scoring on the man advantage, plus giving up goals while a man down at the other end, it is a recipe for disaster. Special teams need a whole revamp and reset for the Avs to find success once again.

It seems as though the entire team has been missing ever since returning from the All-Star Break, but some players in particular have been sticking out like a sore thumb. Johansen looks as though he’s playing in first gear while the others around him are at least a gear or two higher than him. Jared Bednar has still not been able to find a spot for him, despite playing with Wood and Zach Parise. Meanwhile, Georgiev wasn’t necessarily bad in this game, but when your opposite netminder is saving more goals than expected and yours is in the red, it is not a good look at how the team is doing as a whole. Something needs to change, and it needs to change fast before the Avs are in the thick of fighting for their playoff lives.

Upcoming

The road trip goes on through Florida but first is a detour at the nation’s capital against the Washington Capitals. Puck drop on Tuesday night is at 5:00 p.m. MT.