Turnovers and power-play goals cost the Colorado Avalanche in a 3-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues at Pepsi Center on Sunday night, but for head coach Jared Bednar, more than that is plaguing the team at the moment.
First, frequent infractions early in the match are proving detrimental, and they resulted in a pair of man-advantage markers for the visiting squad.
"The early penalty for us all season long, and again tonight, has come back to get us," Bednar said. "It puts us down in a hole. Then we have a quick turnover off a faceoff in the D-zone; it ends up in the back of our net. Then their other power-play goal, same thing. To me, both those power-play goals we have opportunities to get it out high in the zone, we kind of cheat with it with our second man, and that's a mental mistake. We can't do that because when they kept it in, then we were finished on both of them. They both ended up in the back of our net."
Video: Avs coach Jared Bednar after the loss to the Blues
The second issue is the squad's consistency, or lack thereof.
"It's really tough getting motivated as group to compete at the level we need to every night, and we've been a little hot and cold with that lately around the trade deadline," Bednar said. "So that consistency and playing the right way [are key]. We've struggled to score goals all year. You need to score goals to win hockey games, so to me we have to be rock-solid defensively, and we got to find a way to stay out of the box.
"We got to try and put that whole package together for the rest of the way and give us our best chance to win every night. That's our learning process in order to move forward and continue to try to do things the right way leading into next season."
That can seem like a daunting task for a team that is struggling to find success, even on a small scale. Confidence is withering, and without some sort of jumpstart to regain even the tiniest bit, things won't get better.
"Confidence isn't something that comes along easily at this point in the season, and with the season that we've had, obviously it's tough," captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "But you have to manufacture it, and you have to find ways to feel good about yourself and feel good about your game. You have to come out and really just turn the page. Nobody's going to feel sorry for you. You don't really have time to hang your head and feel sorry for yourself. So you got to manufacture some confidence and find ways to feel good about our game, and that's going to translate into wins."
Video: Postgame interview with Gabriel Landeskog
The Avalanche has been outscored 20-5 in its last five games while going 1-4-0 in that span. Production needs to come from somewhere, and Landeskog said getting to the dirty areas of the ice is a place to start.
"Felt like we didn't get our offense going as far as the O-zone, obviously. There's a few chances here and there, but we need more as far as offense goes, and that's a group effort," he said. "Our wingers and centers need to pay the price to get in front of the net and take pucks there, and our 'D' need to get shots through and create things from up top. Obviously, scoring isn't coming in bunches right now. So we got to make sure that we play tight defensively. Obviously, you give up two in the first five minutes of the last two games, it's an uphill battle from there. So we need to make sure we find our offense here come Tuesday."
The Avs return to action on Tuesday to take on the visiting Carolina Hurricanes in the second contest of a four-game homestand.
ANDRIGHETTO MAKES HIS AVS DEBUT
After missing the previous two games after being acquired from the Montreal Canadiens at the NHL Trade Deadline, Swiss forward Sven Andrighetto made his Colorado Avalanche debut on Sunday night at Pepsi Center.
While one match is hardly enough for anyone to make a fair assessment, head coach Jared Bednar was certainly pleased with what he saw.
Video: Sven Andrighetto on his Avalanche debut
"I liked him tonight. I thought [he had] a steady game. Hardworking kid that can skate," Bednar said. "He's got some speed to him. He surprised me a little bit a couple times out there, both on the tracking coming back defensively and then offensively, as well. He made a couple plays, a nice seam pass in the third period over to Mikko [Rantanen] for the one-timer; he missed it. Responsible guy, handsy guy, smart player; I liked his game tonight. He was pretty good, especially for a first one and missing the last few days on the ice."
Andrighetto finished the game with two shots, two hits and two takeaways in 15:19 of ice time. Despite this, he was a little harder on himself given the 3-0 result in favor of the St. Louis Blues.
"Well it's tough to say right now, right after the game," the 23-year-old said. "Obviously, when we lose we've got to see some of the positive things. Two goals out of the three were on the PK, so I figure if we don't take as much penalties, it's a 1-0 game and we have more chances. But obviously, you don't win the hockey game scoring zero goals."
His solution to what ails the Avs? Synergy.
"It's just working together, being on the same page," he said. "Communicate with each other, support each other, and I'm pretty sure it will come."
Andrighetto is already looking forward to making some adjustments in the team's next game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
"It was my first time on the ice with these guys, so I got familiar with them, first of all," he said. "Definitely looking forward to the next game, and hopefully we get the win then."
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Patrick Wiercioch returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch in the team's previous game at the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. He replaced rear guard Cody Goloubef, who was a healthy non-participant in Sunday's contest.
Forward Joe Colborne was the organization's other scratch.