The Colorado Avalanche switched it up in goal for the first time this season. Unfortunately the results remained the same after 4-1 loss to Panthers.

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The Colorado Avalanche decided to go with Jonas Johansson over Darcy Kuemper to try and inject some life in this squad. Early it seemed to work as the Avs matched the Panthers’ energy through the first frame. After the Panthers took an early lead on Sam Reinhart’s first of the year at the 14:32 mark of the period. Much has been made of the non-call for icing on this play that lead to Sam Girard eating the boards hard and sending him to the locker room for evaluation. But one play should never derail a championship team. The Avalanche answered with Mikko Rantanen’s second goal of the season at the 19:06 mark. Unfortunately, this would be the only time they could manage to get the puck to the back of the net.

Sergei Bobrovsky, the Panthers’ backup goalie, looked like he belonged as a starter after stoning 30 of 31 Avs attempts. Bobrovsky was a brick wall, very few shots even hit the post. Johansson did his best to match Brobrovsky block for block. But unlike Bobrovsky’s defense, Johansson’s defense hung him out to dry like poor defensive positioning that lead to the Sam Bennet goal, his 4th, in the second period, on the power play.

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Johansson actually surpassed the .900 save% we discussed in the preview to this game with a .917 mark. But when your defense allows 38 SOG, that number becomes much less important. I couldn’t fathom a team with Bo Byram, Cal Makar, Nathan MacKinnon, and Gabriel Landeskog could be outscored when they met the physicality of the opponent. The consistent lack of effort on the defensive end is getting concerning.

It was nice to see the Colorado Avalanche show more physicality as they tied the Panthers in hits with 26, and outpaced them 18-16 in blocks. This was a nice step forward to see, and one I want to see continue. Erik Johnson was a big part of this, leading the team with 4 hits and 26 shifts. I think if he, Jack Johnson, and Macdermid can get on the ice together consistently, this physicality will only increase,

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The biggest concern to me is their lack of oomph on the Power Play (0-3). This team was able to cover for this bugaboo last year with 5-on-5 dominance. This year, that 5-on-5 dominance is non-existent, amplifying their Power Play woes. Then you add in the poor defensive showing so far, and you have the ingredients for this start to the season.

Another concern is unlike the last 2 games where the Avalanche showed life late and brought it close before giving up an empty-net goal to end it. In this game, they couldn’t even do that. They were thoroughly dominated from the beginning of the second period forward. They made Brobrovsky look like the second coming of Dominik Hasek. I don’t want to take anything from Brobrovsky’s performance, it was masterful, but he’s not .968 save% good.

Here’s to hoping another day off gives this team time to make real adjustments, regain some energy, and come out firing on the last leg of this road trip in Tampa, Florida Saturday evening.

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Up Next:

@ Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday, October 23 @ 5:00 PM

Where to Watch:

Stream: ESPN+

Denver: AltitudeTV