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Avs Needed More Compete In St. Louis

Colorado continues its road trip at Carolina on Saturday

by Callie Parmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

Being able to quickly reset will be important for the Colorado Avalanche as it aims to regroup following a 6-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday at Scottrade Center.  

The game started off with a lot of excitement and intensity as Gabriel Landeskog dropped the gloves and exchanged fisticuffs with Blues center Brayden Schenn just three seconds after the opening faceoff.

"I like that Landy goes out and fights right away and tries to get our team engaged," head coach Jared Bednar said. "I thought we were competitive in the first period, even the start of the second wasn't so bad. As the game went on though, I thought we got less and less competitive, and they elevated their physical play a little bit.

"I just didn't think we did a good job defending. As the game went on, we got worse with the puck, but early on we were okay. We need more commitment to defend than that to get the job done."

The deficit in the final score is distinct but does not fully reflect the way the Avs were playing when they had control of the puck.  

"Offensively, I thought we were doing some good things," said Landeskog. "We still have to find ways to get more pucks and bodies at the net, that's really it. Defensively, we got to find ways to close quicker, be more competitive and win more battles. Really that's what it comes down to. I think we are doing it at times, but we have to be better. You look at the score, it's embarrassing. I know they get some easy ones and a couple of bounces here and there, but it's still a loss."

The Blues opened the scoring with a power-play goal in the first period, and the Avs responded early in the second frame to tie the contest 1-1.

Gabriel Bourque scored Colorado's lone goal when he gained control of the puck after a turnover in the offensive zone and sent it to the back of the net. It was his second straight game with a tally.

"Well I just saw an opening on the ice to get a breakaway, and I got it," said Bourque. "Just shoot and score."

However, the tied game was short-lived as St. Louis scored twice in 48 seconds shortly after Colorado's marker.

"Their second [goal], I mean it's a perfect shot from the corner," said Landeskog. "I don't know if [Jonathan Bernier] just didn't see it or picked it up late. They get a couple bounces, even on the third and fourth goal, and all of a sudden things run away from us. I think we are doing some good things offensively, we are just lacking compete level defensively."

Bednar tried to reenergize his team with a goalie change, sending Semyon Varlamov in to relieve Bernier between the pipes.

"I didn't have a problem with Berns' game at that point," said Bednar. "I mean, he let the second one in and he would like to have that one back, I am sure. It wasn't a great goal, and they find a little life from that and at three I thought well, if I can slow this down a little bit and give Varly the net, maybe our guys will respond. Things just didn't work out that way."

Bernier made 17 saves before Bednar made the switch, including 12 in the first period. Varlamov stopped eight shots in net.  

"We are going to break it down, same thing we do after wins and after losses," said Bednar. "We will break it down, grab the positives and grab some areas [to work on]. I thought we could have shot the puck more tonight, we passed up on shooting opportunities… In order to generate the offense, we got to be willing to put the puck to the net a little bit more.

"Tonight, even in the third period, we are cycling around in the offensive zone and no shots on the board to show for it. Your odds aren't going to be good when you do that. And then at the other end, like I said, we lost too many battles. Coverage was loose and not enough talk so we will take those points, make sure we show them to our team and bounce back. We got to be hungrier on Friday."

GETTING BACK AT IT

Colorado continues its road trip with a back-to-back set at the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

"For us, we know we got to get two out of three on this road trip," said Landeskog. "We got a back-to-back coming up. We got to rest up, practice tomorrow and get back at it."

The Avs are in a stretch of their schedule that has them playing 13-of-16 away from home. They own a 10-13-3 record as the visiting team this season.

LINEUP NOTES

Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen skated on Colorado's top line in St. Louis after missing the club's last game with a lower-body injury.

Rantanen is second on the team with 50 points and 33 assists, and he recorded three shots in the outing, logging 17:38 of ice time.

After the second period, the Avalanche announced that veteran forward Blake Comeau would be out for the rest of the contest with a lower-body injury.

Comeau has 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 53 games this season and is the only member of the Avalanche who has played in all of Colorado's outings this campaign.

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