Oct 18, 2013, 4:58 PM EDT
The Colorado Avalanche finally lost last night, falling 4-2 to Detroit in a game that was most notable for the suspension-worthy hit from behind on Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall by Cody McLeod.
If not for the Kronwall injury, there probably would have been more talk about the Avs putting 40 shots on Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who made 38 saves for his third outstanding performance in four nights. Because if not for Gustavsson, the 6-1-0 Avs may still be undefeated.
So what’s been the key to Colorado’s improved play compared to last season when it was one of the NHL’s worst teams?
Forward Matt Duchene points to the Avs’ aggressive attacking attitude under new head coach Patrick Roy.
“That’s one thing we’ve all talked about in our room the last four years,” Duchene said, per Yahoo! Sports. “Not to knock anybody or anything, but I don’t feel like we’ve played the way that our team is built. I think we’ve played a little bit too stingy and slow, or tried to play that way, and it wasn’t in our makeup, and it backfired, I think. I think we need to play a style like Chicago. We’re built like a Chicago.”
By that, Duchene means the Avs are more of a skill team up front than, say, the Los Angeles Kings or Boston Bruins, two recent Stanley Cup winners who rely more on big, physical forwards than Chicago does.
All that said, one caveat that should be noted about Colorado’s early-season success is the fact they’ve relied heavily on their goaltenders, Semyon Varlamov and Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who’ve combined for a league-best .958 team save percentage.
History suggests that sort of save percentage is unsustainable, meaning the Avs might need to tone down the running and gunning and take better care of the puck. Because at the risk of criticizing a team that’s only lost once, Colorado is also surrendering 34.3 shots per game, tied for the fourth most in the NHL. And consistently allowing a lot of shots is most definitely not how Chicago plays.
May 4, 2015, 1:04 AM EDT
The last team to open the playoffs with at least six straight wins was Pittsburgh in 2008.
May 4, 2015, 12:18 AM EDT
He’ll be looking for the Wild to do better mentally at home.
May 3, 2015, 11:42 PM EDT
There are three contests scheduled for Sunday.
May 3, 2015, 11:36 PM EDT
He seemed initially dazed, but stayed in the game.
May 3, 2015, 11:17 PM EDT
Chicago now has a 2-0 series lead.
May 3, 2015, 10:27 PM EDT
Devan Dubnyk had some bad luck on this one.
May 3, 2015, 9:58 PM EDT
“He tries to play God. He tries to control the game and he did that tonight.”
May 3, 2015, 9:14 PM EDT
Prust and Bishop have a history.
May 3, 2015, 8:52 PM EDT
The series will now return to Tampa Bay where the Lightning were 32-8-1 in the regular season.
May 3, 2015, 8:19 PM EDT
This might lead to Jonathan Drouin playing in Game 3.
May 3, 2015, 7:38 PM EDT
How far can the Lightning go if he gets hot?
May 3, 2015, 7:14 PM EDT
Valtteri Filppula snuck one by Carey Price.
May 3, 2015, 7:00 PM EDT
At one point 14 squads were believed to be interested in his services.
May 3, 2015, 6:19 PM EDT
It’s the first time he’s out of the lineup since the start of the 2014-15 campaign.
May 3, 2015, 5:46 PM EDT
Exactly when that will be remains to be seen.
May 3, 2015, 4:55 PM EDT
It’s rarely easy for young stars.
May 3, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT
He’s working nicely with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
May 3, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT
Both were at least some risk of missing Game 2.
May 3, 2015, 1:50 PM EDT
Still zero goals and just three assists for the star sniper.
May 3, 2015, 12:46 PM EDT
Blackhawks fans probably remember him.
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- Wild can’t contain ‘Hawks star forwards in Game 2 19
- Stamkos, power play comes alive as Lightning take 2-0 series lead vs. Habs 27
- Video: Stamkos ends goal drought in style 9
- Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for tonight 9
- Rangers hang on, even series with Caps 55
- Video: Ovechkin splits ‘D’, scores while falling 32
- Flames’ Gaudreau wasn’t happy with benching in Game 1 2
- Video: Blackhawks hold off Wild to take series lead 23
- Niklas Kronwall suspended for Game 7 vs. Tampa Bay (116)
- Vigneault: ‘Standards have been set’ after Ovechkin, Backstrom hits (103)
- Friedman: Penguins need to ‘think about’ trading Malkin (89)
- Report: Developers file intent to build arena in Seattle suburb (81)
- Lightning’s Bishop silences Red Wings in hard fought Game 7 (81)