The Colorado Avalanche got off to a decent start under their new head coach, but things have taken a decided turn for the worse.
Jared Bednar’s group fell to 5-7-0 on Tuesday, dropping a 4-2 decision at home to the Arizona Coyotes. With just two wins in their last eight, the Avs host Winnipeg tonight, already trying to make up lost ground in the tough Central Division.
“Right now when we’re making mistakes, teams are capitalizing on them,” Bednar said following Tuesday’s defeat. “You hope that your team starts to understand the mistakes that we’re making, and then you get a little better at it and you can show more positive than negative.”
Semyon Varlamov will be back between the pipes against the high-scoring Jets. It seemed like Calvin Pickard might get an extended run, but four goals on 25 shots versus the Coyotes put an end to that.
As a team, the Avs have struggled with pretty much everything. They’ve got the 28th-ranked offense (2.00 goals per game), and the 24th-ranked goals-against (3.08).
Possession-wise, the Avs’ numbers remain a concern, with a score-adjusted Corsi that ranks 26th out of 30. Combine that with a low shooting percentage (6.9) and the results are not going to be pretty. At the very least, the shooting percentage is likely to go up a bit.
Meanwhile, future Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla has just two goals in 12 games. He told the Denver Post recently that it’s “about winning and making the playoffs and having a chance to play for the Stanley Cup.” A pending unrestricted free agent, the 39-year-old may need a trade to give himself that chance.
To be sure, Bednar deserves more time to instill his system. Roy’s shock resignation in August caught everyone by surprise, and management had to scramble to find a replacement.
Unfortunately for the Avs, they’re already in a hole — four points back of a wild-card spot, five back of third in their division — and the schedule isn’t waiting for them to figure things out. Colorado hosts Winnipeg tonight, Boston Sunday and Los Angeles Tuesday, and then it’s a three-game road trip through Dallas, Minnesota, and Colorado.