The fading Colorado Avalanche continued their second half slide on Saturday afternoon by blowing an early two-goal lead against the New York Islanders and dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to lose for the 20th time in their past 25 games.
What stands out about Saturday’s game isn’t just the fact they are dropping games at a rapid rate, or that they squandered an early lead, it is that their record in games that have gone beyond regulation dropped to an almost unimaginable 1-10 on the season.
While it is easy to look at the 10 OT losses as “collecting” loser points and keeping them in the race, it is also a lot of points that they have left on the table that could ultimately keep them out of the playoffs.
Even though Avalanche are not exactly the deepest team in the league and have their flaws defensively and in net, you would have to think that a roster with Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog at the top of it could have a little more success during 3-on-3 play. It seems built for players of that caliber. Granted they can not play the entire five minutes, but you would think even a couple of minutes out there would result in them making a play or two.
If they had managed to win just three of those games they would still be tied for a playoff position right now.
It has to be maddening for the Avalanche because there is such a fine line in those games between winning and losing, and a lot of times it can come down more to luck or the right break at the right time more than anything else. Keep in mind this same team was a much more reasonable 8-8 in such games a year ago.
It’s not like they suddenly forgot how to play 3-on-3 hockey.
Whatever the source of their struggles — bad luck, a change in the way they’re playing that situation, whatever it may be — their inability to win such games is one of the many reasons this team went from looking like a playoff lock two months ago to on the outside of the playoff picture today.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.