Playing in Denver, Toronto takes a 3-0 lead into the second period and pounds Colorado 6-0.
The Avalanche on Thursday night played as if that object on the Colorado skaters’ sticks was a lump of coal, not a puck.
In the wake of Colorado’s ugly 6-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Pepsi Center, here’s the updated tale of woe.
As Christmas approaches, the Avalanche has:
• An eight-game home winless streak. • A five-game losing streak. • And a partridge in a pear tree. So is it time to blow this up? “You’re asking the wrong guy,” said Avalanche captain Gabe Landeskog. “All we can control is what we do in the ice and how hard we work on a daily basis. You know that. It’s probably as frustrating as it’s ever been, but we can’t just roll over and feel sorry for ourselves. We’re going to work as hard as we can and respond (Friday night at Chicago) and then enjoy Christmas and think about what we can do to turn this thing around.”
Nathan MacKinnon noted: “We didn’t even deserve to be in the NHL tonight, it was so bad, 6-0. We’re losing and we’re not losing by one. We’re losing by four or five or six tonight. We have to have a short memory. We’re playing the best team in the NHL (Friday) night in Chicago. Hopefully we can get a win there and head into the break on a positive note.”
The calendar year is coming to a rocky end for first-year Avalanche coach Jared Bednar, who was asked if he still had faith in this team’s personnel or if something needed to be done to change it.
“We’re always examining, No. 1,” he said. “Every game. If you look at tonight, it’s no different than some of our other losses. We created some good chances tonight, nothing on the board. At some point, we have to find a way to score a goal. Tonight, we’re in a game, chances are equal and next thing you know, we’re down 3-0 and it’s 5-0. I don’t think it was a 6-0 game, but the zero is … you have to find a way to not be at zero.”
The Maple Leafs got started with a goal at 7:13 of the first period from wunderkind Auston Matthews, the Phoenix-area product who was the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, and led 3-0 after one and 5-0 after 29 minutes. That led to an evacuation by many of the paying customers and to the yanking of Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov.
The Russian veteran was both shaky and hung out to dry, allowing the five goals on 18 shots before getting the hook, with Calvin Pickard coming on for the final 31 minutes. Ultimately, Nazem Kadri had two goals for the Maple Leafs, and goalie Frederik Andersen had 38 saves.
The Avalanche was 0-for-6 on the power play, not even scoring on a couple of 5-on-3 advantages totaling 2:18.
Colorado hasn’t won at the Pepsi Center since beating the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Nov. 15, and hasn’t won, period, since defeating the Maple Leafs 3-1 at Toronto on Dec. 11. Since Colorado was a respectable 9-9-0 on Nov. 21, it has gone 2-11-1. The 11-20-1 overall record leaves Colorado with 23 points, by four points the lowest total in the NHL.
Colorado’s Patrick Wiercioch and Toronto’s James van Riemsdyk battle for control of the puck during Thursday night’s game at the Pepsi Center. Matthew Stockman, Getty Images