And the really sad part of this is, that Jacques Lemaire actually thought they played good!
With two very ill-advised turnovers in the third period, the Colorado Avalanche moved to within one game of advancing in the NHL Western Conference playoffs by defeating the Minnesota Wild 3-2 Thursday night before 19,364 loud Wild fans at Xcel Energy Center. Colorado now leads the series 3 games to 2.
The Wild will face elimination on Saturday evening at Pepsi Center, Denver (8 PM MDT: Versus, CBC, Altitude, FSN North) and from what I saw tonight, there's little reason to expect otherwise.
The 'Marian Gaborik watch' continues, as he has not scored a single point in this series. The Wild captain is so gripped by this drought, he has, IMO, stopped effectively skating altogether. Despite scoring a goal in game 2, Pavol Demitra has virtually done nothing else. Eric Belanger? Qui? The Wild offense is being carried by Brian Rolston and Mikko Koivu, and precious little else.
The defense is operating short-handed, with 2 good defensemen (Johnsson, Burns), 2 bad defensemen (Hill, Nummelin) and two defensemen who leave a lot to be desired (Carney, Skoula). Yes, I know Skoula is having the series of his Wild lifetime, but with two top-6 defensemen out (Foster, Schultz) you can't keep up with Forsberg, Sakic & Co. for long.
It is sad to think that a Wild season which started out in September with so much promise could possibly end in this crash-and-burn style. One would surmise that this Wild team needs an overhaul; get rid of the prima donnas that this team has been hiding from public view most of the season and build on the solid foundation that you have already in place. Continue the development of young guns like Pouliot and Sheppard. Let Foster heal; he's earned a spot as a 5th-6th defenseman. Get rid of the dead wood and sign hungry, young talent that will respond better to Jacques' coaching. Make decisions on Rolston, Demitra (you can't have both). Dump Skoula and, if anyone will have him, Johnsson (his contract may be hard to take.) Make a decision on who will be No. 1 in goal long-term -- Backstrom or Harding -- and stick with it. But most of all, get rid of the 'country club' atmosphere which permeates the locker room. You want men's salaries; play like it, every game, no matter what. No nights off.
Beacuse that's what good teams do.