The Colorado Avalanche's 2012 season came to an end on Saturday night with a 6-1 loss to the Nashville Predators at the Pepsi Center. The Avalanche fell seven points short of a spot in the Western Conference playoffs, but the team had been eliminated earlier in the week, leaving no suspense for this game.
The Predators jumped out to an early 1-0 lead with a goal by David Legwand, but Matt Duchene answered about five minutes later with his 14th goal of the season. And that was the high point of the game for the Avalanche. Nashville went on to score two more goals in the first period for a 3-1 lead.
Nashville scored just one goal in the second period and followed that up with two early goals in the final frame, including one by former Avalanche player Brandon Yip. For Avalanche goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the final tally was six goals allowed on 29 shots.
The Avalanche finished the season with a record of 41-35-6.
The Colorado Avalanche made a valiant effort for the postseason with a strong second half, but will ultimately miss the Stanley Cup playoffs for the third time in the past four seasons. Still, there is plenty to be optimistic about for the future of the NHL's youngest club.
Gabriel Landeskog is the heavy favorite for the Calder Trophy. Semyon Varlamov played like the elite goaltender the Avalanche thought they were acquiring this past summer, and carried the team on his back since the All-Star Break. Ryan O'Reilly appears to have made the leap into an offensive threat. Peter Mueller appears finally healthy, with a good chance of continuing his career in the NHL.
There were also some down moments, and many included team captain Milan Hejduk. The veteran winger may be playing his last game in an Avalanche sweater, as there are rumors that he has been considering retirement. Hejduk had similar thoughts last season, but ultimately returned on a one-year contract. But after being demoted to the fourth line, Hejduk rarely showed the spark that made him one of the league's feared snipers. His 14 goals this season match his career low (set in his rookie year). Hejduk will also finish with fewer than 20 goals in a season for the first time since his rookie campaign -- breaking a franchise record 11 straight seasons with at least 20 goals scored.
For most of his career, Hejduk has been a cornerstone of the Avalanche offense. Though there is nothing yet official, this may turn out to be his final game in the NHL.
The Colorado Avalanche just didn't have things go their way in a 5-2 defeat against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night. The Avalanche managed to overcome two separate deficits early in the game but the Blue Jackets were able to constantly attack all night.
After coming back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to keep the game close, the Avalanche couldn't hold off the Columbus in the second half of the game. The Blue Jackets extended their lead to 4-2 following two periods of play and didn't let things get especially close even in front of a road crowd.
The two sides battled for most of the third period, but the Avalanche simply couldn't cut the deficit. Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason was 12-of-12 on shots that came his way in the final period, and Cam Atkinson scored the final goal on an empty net with just over a minute remaining.
The Colorado Avalanche have been playing from behind all night and now they trail 4-2 against the Columbus Blue Jackets going into the third period on Thursday night. The Avalanche have came from behind to tie the game up twice, but both times they've proceeded to allow Columbus to get back on top.
Early in the second period, the Avalanche tied the game up at 2-2 on a power play goal from Paul Stastny, his 21st of the season. But just a few minutes later, the Blue Jackets got on the power play themselves and Rick Nash converted his second goal of the game to put the Blue Jackets back ahead.
After that, Derick Brassard scored an insurance goal, his 15th of the season, to expand Columbus' lead to two goals. The Avalanche have their work cut out in the third period.
The Colorado Avalanche are trailing 2-1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets going into the second period on Thursday night. The two teams traded goals, with Columbus taking its second lead with just a couple minutes remaining in the period.
The Blue Jackets initially took the lead a few minutes into the game on Cam Atkinson's third goal of the season, but that advantage didn't last long. Just a few minutes later, roughly midway through the period, the Avalanche tied things up on David Jones' 20th goal of the season.
The two teams battled for a bit from there, but the Blue Jackets' Rick Nash powered in a goal to give the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead with a little over two minutes left in the period. It wasn't a great start for Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who allowed two goals in the ten shots that came his way.