Despite all of the anticipation of Colorado Avalanche opening night, the game that transpired did not resemble the Avs team fans were accustomed too. As the club gets set for their home opener tonight against the Los Angeles Kings, they have already added more questions than they have answered.
What was so striking in the first game was the disparity in offensive production between the top two lines and the bottom two. With the loss of Ryan O’Reilly the Avs became a two line offensive team, but the third line was easily the best line on the ice. John Mitchell, Cody McLeod, Milan Hejduk and Patrick Bordeleau were by far the most effective players from an effort standpoint.
The top two lines were virtually unnoticeable for much of the game. This was due in small part to the 16 minutes of penalty time the Avalanche partook in as well as the Minnesota Wild’s popular trap system at work. However, there is no denying that the lack of flow from the Matt Duchene–Gabriel Landeskog–P.A. Parenteau line is not the trend the Avalanche hopes will continue. Paul Stastny and Jamie McGinn were neither positive of negative for the Avalanche, but their line mate, David Jones, was horrible.
Obviously, it was a single game and great teams receive contributions from all four offensive lines. However, the Avalanche have not shown long flashes of offensive brilliance currently assembled. In a 48 game season, every game is a lost opportunity and the Avalanche’s mistake prone, careless attitude for the second half in the Wild game leaves many questions. I hope that the bottom two lines continue to play hard, but the first ones off the bench need to set the pace.