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Avs Not Hungry Enough Against Jets

Colorado looks to bounce back on Sunday against St. Louis

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

WINNIPEG, Manitoba--The Colorado Avalanche has played too many of these types of games this season, contests where the team gets down by a goal or two early and can never recover.

Head coach Jared Bednar is done seeing those kind of outings, the latest being a 6-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night at MTS Centre.

"We had a couple games like this already this year. I thought we were past that as a group," Bednar said. "It's a tough situation we're in, there's no doubt. It can be disheartening at times, but that has to be and remains unacceptable. We got to play with some pride, and tonight we didn't have that."

The Avalanche players agree as they now turn their attention to the St Louis Blue, who they'll face on Sunday night at Pepsi Center.

"There's no excuse. We just came out not ready to play," said defenseman Francois Beauchemin. "At some point, you got to start showing some pride. This is the NHL, and right now we're just playing shinny hockey. It's just embarrassing. There's 19 games left, I think, and we got to start showing some pride and be ready to go every night."

Video: Francois Beauchemin on the loss in Winnipeg

The opposing club scoring the opening goal early in the first period has been an unwelcome trend this season for the Avs, and that was once again the case against the Jets as rookie sensation Patrik Laine tallied 4:22 into the contest.

Winnipeg added two more in a matter of 15 second midway through the frame and took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission while holding a 14-3 shot advantage.

"We come out and obviously they're clearly the hungrier team in the first 10 minutes," Landeskog said. "They get a bounce on the first one off of [Matt Duchene's] stick and in the second, one is just a defensive breakdown and a mistake really, and after that we get into penalty trouble. Against a team like that, they're going come out and play hard and make you pay."

The Jets added two more goals in the middle frame and then another in the third on a fortunate bounce off the end wall to take a dominating 6-0 lead.

Video: Gabe Landeskog talks about the loss to the Jets

Colorado's best period of the night was probably the third when it had a 13-6 edge in shots, but the damage was already done from a lackluster start.

"We got outworked form the drop of the puck," Bednar said. "It's a desperate hockey team over there. They know the importance of these two points, and we weren't ready to compete at a level that you have to be ready to compete at in order to win a hockey game."

The Avalanche only managed two goals on its three-game road trip and was in danger of being shutout for the second time on the trek until Landeskog redirected a shot past Connor Hellebuyck with 16 seconds left in regulation.

Colorado's only other score this past week came on Rene Bourque's early tally in the third period of a 2-1 loss at the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.

That kind of offensive output isn't going to cut it in the final five weeks or Sunday when the Avs head into the second half of their ninth back-to-back set of the year.

"We just got to make sure that we try to turn the page as best as we can here in the next 20-something hours," Landeskog said. "Come out and make sure that we're hungry, and make sure that we prove to ourselves and our fans that the Avalanche that showed up here at the MTS Centre wasn't the Avalanche that we want to be and that we should be."

Saying that is all well and good, but Colorado won't be able to remove the sour taste of Saturday if the players don't actively make the change themselves.

"We got a game tomorrow, but it's just not, 'Let's forget about it and move onto tomorrow,' because that's going to be the same thing tomorrow," Beauchemin said. "Everybody's got to look at themselves in the mirror and think about what can be done here."

GOALIES SPLIT TIME

Goaltender Calvin Pickard made his second career start in his hometown, but like his first outing earlier this year, it didn't go how he wanted it. He made 15 saves before being replaced midway through the second period.

Head coach Jared Bednar didn't fault his netminder for the goals he gave up, as many of those shots Pickard should have never faced in the first place.

"I look at the goals that went in there, and again we're caught in between on every play and they're tic-tac-toe back in the net," Bednar said. "You shouldn't give up one of those every five games, never mind three or four in one game. So I don't think Pick had much chance."

Jeremy Smith played the final 30:30 on Saturday and stopped 10 of his 11 shots against.

"I thought Smith came into a tough situation and did a nice job," said Bednar, who did not name a starter for Sunday's contest. "Of course, third period they're up 5-0. They don't have to come at you. So they didn't need to press the issue, but I though Smith did a good job in net."

Video: Coach Bednar's postgame media scrum

Pickard denied 26 of 29 shots in a 4-1 loss in his first-ever game in Winnipeg on Dec. 18. 

The 26-year-old goalie is originally from Moncton, New Brunswick, but he moved to Winnipeg with his family as a youngster and developed his hockey skills in Manitoba's capital.

GOLOUBEF'S RETURN

Defenseman Cody Goloubef was back in the Avalanche lineup after being a healthy scratch for the past three games.

Goloubef started the contest paired with Francois Beauchemin on the blue line and finished the outing with an assist and two shots in 16:05 of ice time.

Forward Sven Andrighetto and Patrick Wiercioch were the scratches Saturday. The Swiss-born Andrighetto could possibly make his Avs debut in Sunday's game against the St. Louis Blues, depending on the status of his U.S. visa.

Andrighetto was acquired in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.

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