Avalanche sliding as road trip heads to Montreal
The Colorado Avalanche found out Friday they are going to be well represented at the Jan. 26 All-Star Game in San Jose. Captain Gabe Landeskog won the "Last Man In" fan voting and will join linemates Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen in the event.
If any team needs some good news, it is Colorado.
The Avalanche are reeling and may be fracturing a bit after going 1-6-2 in their last nine games, and they are only two games into a five-game road trip through Canada. The next stop is Montreal, where they will take on the Canadiens on Saturday night.
Colorado (20-16-8) won the first matchup 2-1 in Denver on Dec. 19 but hasn't done much winning since. Frustration boiled over in a 5-3 loss at Calgary on Wednesday night. Sportsnet cameras captured MacKinnon on the bench arguing with coach Jared Bednar late in the game.
MacKinnon's frustration comes during his best NHL season. He has 26 goals and 40 assists and is second on the team in scoring to Rantanen (20 goals, 48 assists). Landeskog's 27 goals lead the team and completes the dominant line.
The trio carried Colorado through the first two months of the season, but the lack of secondary scoring has started to hurt.
After the top line, the next highest-scoring forward is Carl Soderberg with 25 points. The Avalanche went through a recent offensive drought but have scored 17 goals in the last four games. Poor goaltending has cost them in three games.
Philipp Grubauer allowed seven goals on 20 shots against Winnipeg on Tuesday, and Semyon Varlamov gave up four goals on 15 shots against Calgary 24 hours later. The Jets and Flames combined for 37 shots on goal; Colorado has 76 in the two games.
"The effort is there and we're doing a lot of good things out there," Landeskog said after Wednesday's loss.
"Now we have to find ways to win and I think that's what we're obviously trying to do every single night. It's not like we're not working out there or not trying to win hockey games. It's just not happening for us right now."
The Canadiens (23-17-5) are on fire compared to Colorado.
Montreal is 5-4 since its loss in Denver, which includes a 4-1 setback at St. Louis on Thursday night. The Canadiens are in the thick of the standings, fighting for playoff positioning a little more than halfway through the season, and they can't afford to go .500.
Montreal, which has lost three of its last four after going 5-1, hopes to turn things around at home on Saturday.
"Win one, lose one isn't good enough anymore," forward Brendan Gallagher said after the loss to the Blues.
"I think it's important to collect points every single night and to be in games. (Thursday), it's disappointing because we really weren't in it at any point. We were playing from behind and we didn't have a strong enough push to get back in it and got the result we deserved."
--Field Level Media
Updated January 11, 2019