Of course, “Avalanche Off Day,” could have been the headline for the past four days. In between the Avalanche’s off days, the Blues killed the team on Saturday as did the Predators last night. The Avs at least played well the last two periods of yesterday’s contest but struggled early. At the end of the first period, the Avs were outscored seven to zero in just four periods.
The Avalanche look to rebound and steal two points back against the Nashville Predators. They have to have a stronger start for that to happen against a skilled Predators team. Nashville excels at shutting down teams when they have the lead.
The Avalanche have just one goal in the past two games. The goal scorer, Ryan O’Reilly, had another brilliant goal to cut down the Avs 3 goal deficit last night. The team has to find a way to get goals, especially with Matt Duchene out for at least another couple weeks. His absence is definitely cutting down on their offensive threat.
Forward Peter Mueller will return to the line up and try to help with the teams scoring needs. Mueller has played in three games this season but suffered a relapse of concussion symptoms from his two head injuries in 2010. Mueller did not look healthy in the three games that he played for the team and had no points. Mueller is a skillful player so hopefully he will be back entirely.
On the defensive side, Shane O’Brien went on the injured reserve list today. O’Brien, the emotional leader of the team this season, will be missed for his toughness. This means that Kyle Quincey and Ryan Wilson will have to step up their physical play. Wilson returned last night and led the team in ice time.
Erik Johnson was also out of the game last night, which meant that Matt Hunwick cracked the line up. He was originally paired with Stefan Elliot and played terribly. If he is not going to show up for his games in the line up than he’s just wasting a roster spot. It’s time to unload Hunwick and give someone else a shot if he cannot fill his role.
The Avs will start Semyon Varlamov again tomorrow night. Varlamov did not have a great game last night but also did not have a lot of help in front of him. Hopefully, the Avs can rebound and stay in the thick of the playoff hunt. Every game counts right now.