Avalanche suffer heartbreaking loss to Jets in playoff opener


The Colorado Avalanche hit a rough patch ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs. They suffered a 7–0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets in their last regular season matchup, so the seven-game series was going to be a battle until the very end.

Connor Hellebuyck was going to be a hard goaltender to beat, but the Colorado offense was certainly capable of the task.

For the first game of the series, the Avalanche gave the Jets a hard-fought game. Despite falling to Winnipeg 7–6 in a heartbreaking five minutes, the Avalanche have a good foundation to build upon and will be dangerous for the remaining series.

The good

The team offensively exploded in the first period. Valeri Nichushkin lit the lamp first at the six-minute mark and was greatly outshooting their opponent.

Though quickly down by one in the first period, the Avalanche turned things around in 18 seconds.

Miles Wood tied it up on a point-blank shot, quickly followed by a cannon from Nathan MacKinnon to take the lead once again. Colorado grossly outplayed the Jets in the first period, but got unlucky on the goals against.

The team scored on both power play opportunities. Artturi Lehkonen’s power play goal in the third period encouraged the rest of the team to step up to the plate and bring the game within one goal in the last seconds.

Colorado put up 45 shots on the net in the heartbreaking loss, almost double of Winnipeg. The offensive zone presence was dangerous.

Arguably, the most important part of the game was not just the goals for the team, but also the way they scored them. Despite being down 6–3 in the third period, the Avalanche still put up three goals, making the Jets work for the victory until the end.

The perseverance and determination were admirable and will be a weapon in their next game on Tuesday.

The bad

Unfortunately, the Jets capitalized on every single mistake the Avalanche made, whether big or small. During the first period, they tied up the game on a shot from the blue line through traffic and leaving Colorado goaltender Alexandar Georgiev blind to the location of the puck.

Josh Manson set the scene for the second goal on a turnover, quickly giving Winnipeg a 2–1 lead.

The second period was when the game got out of hand for the Avalanche. Beginning the period at 3–3, a two-on-one scenario ended in a 4–3 lead, and Colorado struggled to get looks on the net.

The second period yielded ugly results for the Avalanche. The goaltending wasn’t the primary issue, though it played a large part. Georgiev has frequently been under fire for his performances.

A seven-goal game is nothing to be proud of, especially when a team is putting up as many shots as Colorado was.

The Avalanche recorded 21 shots on the net in the third period alone, far outshooting the Jets at six. Out of the six Winnipeg shots, three of them were goals.

Throughout the game, it appeared there was a disconnect between the offense and defense. Players were getting the job done in the Winnipeg zone, yet were completely breaking down in their own zone.

Georgiev struggled to bring clutch saves to the table when the team needed him most. It could be a confidence issue, but it will be hard to recover from seven goals on 23 shots.


Going forward, there is a lot to be excited about. The aggression, the grit, and the capability to put up goals is going to keep Colorado in the series.

Several players were absent from the lineup tonight. Jonathan Drouin will not be healthy enough to play in the first round, so the offense will have to adjust to a new formation to be successful.

Samuel Girard was also absent from the lineup, which could be part of the reason the defense seemed to struggle. Justus Annunen was out with an illness in this game, leaving AHL goaltender Arvid Holm in the backup net, undoubtedly adding pressure to every player on the ice.

On Tuesday, the Avalanche may opt to put Annunen in the net, assuming he is healthy.

The team should be able to walk away with a better game plan in mind and come out for the next game as explosive as this one.

About Savvy Rafkin

Savvy is a recent Journalism and Media Communication graduate from Colorado State University. She spent most of her life playing softball and being surrounded by sports. As she entered college, she found her passion for sports writing and joined the Colorado State University Athletic Communications team. Later, she became a beat reporter for high school sports in northern Colorado.


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