Nathan MacKinnon Says Avalanche Were 'Really Bad' in Game 2 Loss vs. Blues

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 20, 2022

DENVER, CO - MAY 17: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) skates during a Stanley Cup Playoffs round 2 game between the St. Louis Blues and the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado on May 17, 2022. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon expressed frustration about his team's performance in a Game 2 loss to the St. Louis Blues in their second-round playoff series Thursday night.

"We were bad. We were really bad tonight," MacKinnon told reporters after the 4-1 defeat. "We just didn't have our jump tonight. But we still feel like we're a great team. We have to forget about it and move on."

The series is tied at one win apiece after the Avs scored 3-2 overtime victory in Game 1.

MacKinnon's assessment is pretty spot-on. Thursday's game wasn't only Colorado's worst performance of the playoffs so far—it swept the Nashville Predators in Round 1—but it was among the team's least effective outings of the entire season.

The expected goals in all situations were 4.68 to 1.38 in favor of St. Louis, per Money Puck. So the final score was an accurate depiction of the contest. It wasn't a situation where the underdog Blues got a few lucky bounces. They dominated this game in Denver.

That's rarely happened to the Avalanche in a season when they finished atop the Western Conference standings with a 56-19-7 record (119 points).

"We got outworked and outskated," Colorado head coach Jared Bednar said. "They were better, and we were worse. Our biggest issue, especially early on, was that no one wanted to skate with the puck. They did a nice job in the neutral zone, but we didn't move."

One bad showing doesn't alter the Avs' status as one of the top Stanley Cup contenders, though.

Colorado won its first five playoff games by a combined score of 24-11, and it scored 12 goals in three games against St. Louis during the teams' regular-season series in which the Avs won twice.

In turn, the Blues shutting down the high-powered Avalanche offense like it did in Game 2 for the remainder of the series is a long shot.

MacKinnon, despite his pointed comments, wasn't ready to push the panic button.

"I think, years past, we might dwell on it and get down on ourselves and each other. We just got to pick each other up and move on and stay positive," he said. "We have a great team. We still believe we can get this thing done and win the series. We're not going to sweep every round. It's fine."

The series now shifts to the Enterprise Center in St. Louis for the next two matchups. Game 3 is set for Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET on TNT.