The Colorado Avalanche has one game left to go out on a high note.
After a disappointing 4-2 loss at the Dallas Stars on Thursday night, the club will look to thank Avs fans for their support with a victory over the visiting Anaheim Ducks during Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday at Pepsi Center.
“None of us want to be in this situation, but at the end of the day we have no one to blame but ourselves. Still got to go out and play with pride for the logo, play with pride for each other,” rear guard Erik Johnson said. “Guys are fighting for jobs for next year and someone’s always watching. As crappy as it feels to be in this predicament, we’re in it because we put ourselves here, and at the end of the day we’re going to work hard until the end.”
The Avalanche has struggled to string together wins on friendly ice, posting a 17-19-4 record this season, so topping the Ducks would show the team’s commitment to fighting until the end.
“We didn’t play very well in our own building, then I would like to see us at least give our fans a solid performance,” head coach Patrick Roy said following the loss to the Stars.
Dallas proved that it was a team contending for the top spot in the Western Conference on Thursday, relentlessly pressuring Colorado on all sides of the puck for the duration of the game.
“Dallas played a solid game defensively,” Roy said. “They’re a tough team to play against. There’s a reason why they’re No. 1 in our division.”
For Roy, a lot of the problems that haunted the Avs throughout the season were present at American Airlines Center as well.
“What caused us [trouble] during the year, that’s what exactly happened to us. I think we had three turnovers on that first goal, and then we had a bad penalty [and they] scored two goals,” Roy said. “It’s a bit of the story of our season.”
By the end of the second period, Colorado found itself down 3-0 and without Johnson, who left the game following a boarding major and game misconduct infraction.
Dallas scored two goals on the ensuing power play, including on a brief 5-on-3 situation, and seemed firmly in control of the game after holding the Avs to just seven shots.
The visiting squad found its legs in the final frame, firing 12 shots on goal and putting two in the back of the net.
“I expect more from our guys, but I guess when you’re out of the playoffs the emotion [is] not the same. We had some moments in the third period,” Roy said. “Clearly it was not enough.”
Calvin Pickard was between the pipes, and he turned aside 27 shots in the loss.
“I thought he was good. He made some good saves. He made a really nice save early in the game on their power play. I thought he played a good game,” Roy said. “We just couldn’t generate anything offensively.”
“We made a good comeback there in the third period, but you have to give them credit. They played a pretty good game. They were pretty tenacious on the forecheck and throwing a lot of pucks at the net,” Pickard said. “They got the win, which is unfortunate for us, but we have one more game and we have to be pros about it and give it our all.”
Now the focus is on Saturday.
“We were playing a good team over there, and they won the game and we lost, but we have to rebound on Saturday and finish on a good note,” Pickard said.