At least something worthwhile came from the Colorado Avalanche’s 5-2 loss last night to the Anaheim Ducks, as former Avalanche star Teemu Selanne became the 18th player in NHL history to score 600 goals. Selanne tells The Associated Press it was the easiest goal he’s scored in a while, which isn’t surprising considering the Avs’ lack of coherent defensive play last night.
Selanne’s goal was basically a shot into a wide-open net, as Avs goalie Craig Anderson scrambled around the crease during a power play. The Denver Post calls Anderson “far from heroic,” giving up four goals on 19 shots and getting benched in favor of backup Peter Budaj midway through the second period. Coach Joe Sacco says his team gave up too many penalties early in the game and set the tone for a behind-the-eight-ball type game.
The Avs have now lost two in a row, leaving them at seventh in the Western Conference, just three points ahead of eighth-place Detroit in the final playoff spot (via NHL.com). With just 11 games left in the season, it’s critical that the Avs don’t give up games, like they did last night. The Denver Post points out that the team will probably have to win at least five of the last 11 games to make the playoffs, which would put them at 96 points to finish the season.
The problem is the Avs seem to be fading at exactly the wrong time, and no win is easy this time of year. Nobody expected playoff hockey in Colorado this season, but the Avs have been one of the league’s surprise teams, hovering at or near the top of the Northwest Division. Barring a complete collapse on the part of the Vancouver Canucks, there’s really no way the Avs can win the division. All the team can do now is hang on for a spot in the Western Conference playoffs or squander an otherwise special season.