Lifeless Avalanche on the brink after disappointing loss in Game 4

May 13, 2024, 10:22 PM | Updated: May 14, 2024, 1:27 pm

The Colorado Avalanche could be staring the end of their season in the face.

And no one thought it would happen like this.

The Avs lost to the Dallas Stars in Game 4 by a score of 5-1 on Monday night, and now trail their Round 2 series three games to one.

The mood was somber inside Ball Arena most of the night, and it’s hard not to think of the stunning suspension to Colorado forward Valeri Nichushkin about an hour before the puck dropped. Nichushkin was suspended by the NHL for at least six months, and is now in Stage 3 of the Player Assistance Program.

The Avalanche started slow, learning the news around the same time as the fans and the rest of the league. It was a shocker they’d be without their leading goal-scorer the rest of the postseason.

To say Colorado came out flat would be an understatement. They managed just two shots in the first period and trailed 1-0 at the break. If it weren’t for several good saves from Alexandar Georgiev, the deficit could’ve been worse. But Dallas broke through on a shorthanded goal from Wyatt Johnston after a bad turnover from Cale Makar.

Fewer than six minutes into the second, Johnston made it 2-0 Dallas. At one point, the Avalanche were being outshot a pathetic 22-4. Miro Heiskanen scored for a 3-0 Stars lead before Colorado’s Casey Mittelstadt got one back to make it 3-1. That’s where thing stood after two frames.

The Avs closed the gap in shots to start the third period, but nothing on the scoreboard. Dallas goalie Jake Oettinger made some nice stops, and then the Stars put it on ice. Evgenii Dadonov made it 4-1 with 10:33 to go and fans started to head for the exits.

Defenseman Devon Toews was a late scratch for the Avs with an illness. Caleb Jones skated in his place, and not well. Jones committed two sloppy penalties early, including the power play that set up Johnston’s second goal.

Now, Colorado will try to save its season on Wednesday night in Dallas in a do-or-die Game 5. They’ll be without Nichushkin, and might be without Toews as well.

It’s gut-check time, or a promising season could end way sooner than anyone thought possible.

Slap Shot

Avalanche Stars...

Will Petersen

Avalanche season ends in heartbreaking fashion in 2OT to Stars

Former Avalanche center Matt Duchene scored for the Stars with 8:18 to go in double overtime on Friday night, ending the season for the Avs

4 days ago

Cale Makar Avalanche Stars...

Will Petersen

Cale Makar the hero as Avalanche force unlikely Game 6 with Stars

Cale Makar had two goals for the Avalanche, Nathan MacKinnon added two points and the championship dreams aren't dead yet

6 days ago

Avalanche Stars Jake Oettinger...

Will Petersen

Avalanche score fewest goals of the playoffs in tough loss to Stars

Stars goalie Jake Oettinger made 29 saves and the Avalanche scored just one goal; it was the fewest Colorado has scored this postseason

10 days ago

Avalanche Stars...

Will Petersen

Valiant Avalanche rally comes up short in Game 2 victory by Stars

The Stars were up 1-0 after the first period and 4-0 after the second, but the Avalanche nearly did it again in the third before falling 5-3

12 days ago

Avalanche Stars Cale Makar...

Will Petersen

Avalanche have massive rally, stun Stars in OT to take Game 1

Avalanche forward Miles Wood scored on a gorgeous breakaway in OT, beating Stars stud goaltender Jake Oettinger clean on the backhand

14 days ago

Cale Makar Norris...

Will Petersen

A yearly tradition: Avalanche star Cale Makar is up for the Norris

Cale Makar had a monster season for the Avalanche, posting 21 goals and 69 assists; this is his fourth time being nominated for the Norris

21 days ago

Lifeless Avalanche on the brink after disappointing loss in Game 4