Between periods of last night's Colorado Avalanche home opener the team picked a lucky fan who would win a car if the Avs scored in the first 30 seconds after the intermission. The fan never had a chance! The Avalanche not only failed to score in the first 30 seconds for this fan, they haven't scored a goal in their opening two games.
It was good to see excitement about hockey and the Avs back in the Mile Hi city. I took the above picture at the opening faceoff. As you can see the game featured a sell out crowd with everyone in their seats for the drop of the first puck. The Avalanche' excellent video department had another good pregame production last night:
Unfortunately the game did not match the pregame hype. The Wild again outplayed the Avalanche, winning 3-0. While I don't consider myself as knowledgeable about hockey as I am about football, here's what I noticed last night:
- If Tyson Barrie doesn't get hurt in last season's first round matchup against the Wild , the Avs win the series. I thought Barrie was the best player on the ice for the Avs. For a franchise who has had trouble finding a good "offensive" defenseman in the past, the Avs now have a good one in Barrie.
- The new additions didn't impress me. jarome iginla seemed a step slow. At one power play he was playing the point - what's up with that? He needs to be in front of the net on power plays. Iginla is a notorious slow starter so there's still hope he can return to the 30 goal level he was at last year with the Boston Bruins.
- Minnesota had a power play in the first period where they had 9 shots on goal and the puck never left the zone. It was the most dominant power play I've ever seen without a team scoring. The Wild are very good and if they continue to get good goaltending, like they did last night from Darcy Kuemper, they will be tough to beat.
- Goalie Sergei Varlamov was solid in net, showing the same form as last season when he was a Vezina trophy finalist (given to the NHL's top goalie)
It's too early to give up on this team yet. The Avs still have a good base of young talent (MacKinnon, Landeskog, Duchene, and more). But I think they are more of a borderline playoff team this season, which was the expectation going into last season before the team's surprise division title.