They have gone 6–0 in their last six games, including beating their Stanley Cup Finals matchup, the Vegas Golden Knights. The Avalanche opened up the game with a weak performance, but turned it around in the second period. Here are my takeaways from the 8–4 loss to the Florida Panthers.
— The forwards need to rotate to the point when defensemen try to bring the puck in. Cale Makar tried to bring the puck into the offensive zone and lost control. There was no forward that rotated up to the point to cover in case there was a breakaway. Sam Reinhart successfully stole the puck and raced down the ice without any opposition.
— Drouin continued to stay hot with another goal in the third period. He now has six goals and six assists in eleven games. Most of his success has been since they have moved him to the first line with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen.
— Many of the first three goals by the Panthers were not Ivan Prosvetov’s fault. However, in December he played in four games in seven days. Coach Jared Bednar then sat him for 21 days! I can understand not having faith in your backup, but this has become ridiculous in overplaying Alexandar Georgiev.
— The defense needs to be more aggressive with clearing the front of the net. The Panthers scored eight goals by the end of the night, but six of them were below the hash marks. Colorado’s defensive pairs need to clear the front of the net and the center. There have been some goals that were scored where the defenseman was on the wrong side of the ice. The center is hardly dropping to cover the backdoor and leaving it wide open.
— One positive was that the Avalanche exploded in the second period. Colorado has struggled all season in the second period as the opponents have outscored them 48–47 before tonight. The Avalanche scored three out of four of their goals in the middle frame. Two of the three were in less than one minute.
The Avalanche are coming on to one of the hardest parts of the schedule with the Boston Bruins and the Vegas Golden Knights as the next two opponents. If they play anything like they did tonight, they will not stand much of a chance against these tougher teams.
Florida showed they went to the Stanley Cup Finals for a reason with their play tonight. Colorado’s next game will be on Monday against Boston in Denver.
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