Time to Get Out the Razor

By AJ Pacheco

Well that was fun. Nonetheless, Avalanche season has come to a close. Time to get out the razors and shave those playoff beards or peach fuzz in most of the Avs' case (I hope you were thinking shaving when you read the title). 
The Avs hung in there against the number one seeded Sharks but their upset bid came up short. In past seasons, I would have been more mopey about a first round exit but the Avs played a great season of hockey. If you had told me at the beginning of the season that the youngster-filled Avs would make the playoffs I would have laughed at you. Whatever the Avalanche could have accomplish in the playoffs was just extra credit as far as I'm concerned. Going from dead last in the West a season before and then making the playoffs a year later? Yeah that's good enough for me. 
After limping into the playoffs the Avalanche really came out and surprised the Sharks in Games 1 and 2. The Sharks had no answer for the speed of the Avalanche in Game 1 and thanks to the well placed skate of Rob Blake the Avs gave Sharks fans a reason to sweat early on. Unfortunately Game 1 was really the only game the Avalanche outplayed the Sharks. Another blown third period lead prevented the Avs from going home up 2 games to nothing. Dan Boyle gave away Game 3 and the Avalanche again, looked to be in upset mode. After Game 3 it was all Sharks though. The Avalanche really missed Hejduk and Mueller this series and the officiating was questionable at best. 
That being said: the Sharks were the better and hungrier team in this series. If it wasn't for Craig Anderson, this series would not have been as close. Anderson was outstanding. He faced over 100 shots between just Games 2 and 3! Credit the Sharks, after watching the Avs skate circles around them in Game 1, they clamped down and never allowed the Avs to possess the puck for very long in the offensive zone. The Sharks also took advantage of their size and bullied the Avalanche all series long. The Sharks are a huge team but the Avalanche definitely exposed some weaknesses. If the Sharks face another fast team like the Canucks or Blackhawks, they might not be so lucky. 
It is very sad that Avalanche hockey has come to an end for the season but I am very thankful for the 2 week extension. This Avalanche team has a bright future and the brief playoff experience gained this year is a bonus. No more Avalanche but that just means time to cheer against Detroit and Vancouver. 
Thanks for the great season Avs.
 

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