Colorado fell to Minnesota 4-2 in the season opener on Saturday.
Colorado took an early 1-0 lead over the Minnesota Wild on Jan. 19, but played extremely poor thereafter. The Wild wound up scoring three goals in the second period and kept the Avalanche contained in the third for a 4-2 victory.
Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov saved 31-of-35 shots while John Mitchell and Cody McLeod were credited with the two goals.
The reigning Stanley Cup champions didn’t get off to a great start either, taking on the Chicago Blackhawks at home. Chicago scored three quick goals in the opening period and then added two more throughout the game to win, 5-2.
Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick was extremely shaky in net, allowing all five goals and making just 17 saves. James Nolan and Rob Scuderi scored for the Kings.
Which Western Conference team will get their first victory on Jan. 22 in Colorado?
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado
When: Tuesday, January 22, 9 p.m. ET
TV Information: Altitude TV (check local listings)
Live Stream: NHL GameCenter
Colorado Projected Top Lines
Forwards 1: Jamie McGinn-Paul Stastny-David Jones
Defense 1: Erik Johnson-Shane O’Brien
Goalie: Semyon Varlamov
Forwards 2: Gabriel Landeskog-Matt Duchene-P.A. Parenteau
Defense 2: Jan Hejda-Ryan O’Byrne
Colorado Injury Report
Chuck Kobasew, Forward
Kobasew missed several practices last week with the flu and was unable to play in the season opener against the Wild. Mike Chambers of The Denver Post reports that he will be eligible to play against the Kings.
Colorado Key Storyline: Can Colorado stay disciplined?
Colorado lost its season opener in Minnesota for one reason: penalties. The Avs took way too many penalties to expect to win against the new and improved Wild team.
Adrian Dater of The Denver Post recalled this in his postgame notes:
Then came the bad penalties. Steve Downie—six minutes of penalties in the second period, the worst two of which came as a result of his cross-check to pint-sized Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon after he’d already been tripped.
Semyon Varlamov tried to bail out his team with some brilliant saves, especially during a 5-on-3 after Ryan O’Byrne grabbed the stick of Zach Parise and joined Downie in the box with 1:58 left on the second of his two minors on Spurgeon. But Wild forwards like Dany Heatley had free reign in front of the net for rebounds, and nobody can stop one-footers all the time.
Colorado had 19 minutes in penalties against the Wild and despite only giving up two power play goals on seven chances, that’s way too much time spent shorthanded. The Avs have to be better disciplined going forward.
Prediction: Los Angeles 2-1
The Kings were embarrassed on their home ice just after raising their Stanley Cup banner. Coming into Colorado, they’ll be looking to even their record at 1-1.
Who wins Game 2?
Varlamov was very good in the season opener for the Avs and was clearly not the reason they lost to Minnesota. He should do a good job at containing the Kings, but should allow two shots to sneak by him—one coming during a power play.
The top-6 for Colorado will continue to struggle—failing to earn a point—and will end up costing the Avs another game. Penalties won’t be as apparent an issue as they were in Minnesota, but Colorado will be shorthanded a couple of times throughout the night. Downie will be the lone goal scorer for the Avs against Quick and the Kings.
The Colorado faithful will be roaring to watch their team at home for the first time in 2012-13, but the game will end in bitter disappointment. Game two of Colorado’s season is another loss.