More of the same

Before Monday night's game, the last time the Colorado Avalanche scored a third period goal was on November 14th against the Calgary Flames, a period of more than two weeks. During that span the Avs were outscored 16-0 in the third.

In my last entry, I brought up the Avs' third period woes, a development that, without a doubt, has contributed to the team's recent struggles. Since that last entry, the Avs have gone 1-1-2, continuing their struggles in the third. The four games included twice blowing leads to Minnesota.

I'm not reasy to say the Avs are putting their struggles behind them. They did finally score a third period goal (empty netter by Wojtek Wolski that as far as I'm concerned does not end the alarming trend). However, the Avs did play a solid 60 minutes against the Tampa Bay Lighting, something that the coaches and players have been preaching in recent interviews. More importantly, despite the mediocre play the Avs are still in good shape, as far as the division and playoff standings go. As I predicted, if the Avs did not find a way to solve their third period problems, they would find themselves out of first in the Northwest. Yet the team keeps finding ways to pick up points, which is encouraging as well as important in a Western Conference that is sure to come down to the wire.

I'm hoping that the Avs build on the solid effort in Tampa and finish out the road trip on a high note. I'm also curious to see who will step up and fill the void created by David Jones' injury. I have a feeling that this one will be hard on the Avs. Jones had been playing well since returning from an early season injury and was the team's second leading goal-scorer. The Avs will miss his size and production, but this may give guys like Duchene and Stewart a chance to break out like they did in Tampa. Also, look for Hejduk to return soon, the Avs need his veteran presence and scoring.


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