Colorado Avalanche Regress in Loss to Calgary Flames

Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

While the Colorado Avalanche have looked strong to open the season, some of the curious loss-of-focus that’s plagued the team over the last two seasons was on display in a 3-2 (OT)loss to the Calgary Flames.

The Colorado Avalanche stormed out to a 2-0 lead over the Calgary Flames at Pepsi Center before allowing the Flames to chip away and eventually take the W, just barely into the OT period.

We talk a lot about Colorado sports, trends and perceptions that seem to apply to all of the local teams.  The tendency is to apply that hyper-awareness to just the franchises that are performing well at any given time.  The Colorado Rockies, for example are fresh off of a NLDS appearance and though they were swept out of the playoffs by the Milwaukee Brewers, it was a successful season by most standards.

That perception is not shared by many Colorado sports fans, who see the meek way the Rockies exited the biggest stage as a failure.

That same attitude is amplified when the offending team hasn’t had the success the Rockies enjoyed this season.  The Avalanche made the playoffs a season ago but bowed in the first round to Nashville without much of a fight.

Even in a much shorter timeframe, Colorado sports has taken a hit.  The Buffs, Broncos and Avalanche all lost over the weekend. It leads to a cynical stance from fans and the Avalanche didn’t do themselves any favors from that standpoint by allowing Calgary to overcome the Avs early explosion.

Nathan MacKinnon kept his goal-per-game streak alive, opening the scoring just 11 seconds in.  JT Compher would follow at the 2:40 mark with the Avs second goal.  Coming off of the 6-1 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres it looked like the Avalanche had another laugher in-store.

Unfortunately, that was the balance of the scoring for Colorado and the Flames used a second period Sam Bennett goal (his first of the season) and two goals in just under three minutes at the end of regulation and in overtime by Elias Lindholm and Johnny Gaudreau, respectively, to take the OT win.

It felt like a microcosm of how Avalanche seasons have been lately.  Strong starts, long on promise but at the end of the day (season), a disappointment.

Lost in the…..loss…..was Semyon Varlamov‘s continued outstanding play in net for the Avalanche.  Colorado surrendered 41 shots to the Flames, Varly stopped 38 of them, including 12-for-12 against the Flames power play.  It was another encouraging performance for Varlamov who looks to backstop the Avalanche to a deep playoff run.  If he’s healthy, Avalanche fans have to feel good about the possibility of a top-tier netminder to go with the Avs riches up front.

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Colorado begins an East Coast swing on Tuesday with a visit to the Garden and a contest with the struggling New York Rangers.  It’s believed Varly will get the start for Colorado who will try to erase the Calgary loss and move forward in this promising season.