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KLEE: Without bad luck, Avalanche would have no luck at all

By: Paul Klee
February 11, 2013
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photo - Colorado defenseman Greg Zanon defends Phoenix right wing Shane Doan as Doan scores the game-winning goal. Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Colorado defenseman Greg Zanon defends Phoenix right wing Shane Doan as Doan scores the game-winning goal. Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 

DENVER — Someone in the Avalanche locker room cracked a mirror or crossed paths with a black cat.

One man’s guess: It was both. No team’s luck can be this unfortunate, can it?

Chalk this up as Colorado’s new way to lose a game: In overtime against Phoenix on Monday, the puck glanced off a referee’s skate and led to a game-winning goal for the Coyotes.

“It’s unfortunate for us,” coach Joe Sacco said. “Fortunate for them.”

Phoenix 3, Colorado 2.

Lady Luck 303, Colorado 0.

Coyotes captain Shane Doan slapped in the sudden-death winner, over the shoulder of goalie Semyon Varlamov, with less than 1 minute left in OT.

Kyle Chipchura got the assist.

Score one to the ref, too. His skate played it perfectly.

When the ice is down at Pepsi Center, there is a line change: The four-leaf clover has been substituted with seven weeks of bad luck.

The Colorado Lottery should pay the Avalanche to buy its Power Ball tickets. The Avs wouldn't win a dime.

Right now the Avs are haunted, cursed, barren of luck unless it is bad.

Their leading scorer from last season, Ryan O’Reilly, is holding out. Their captain, hard-charging Gabriel Landeskog, is sidelined indefinitely with a head injury.

Ouch.

Steve Downie, who, last season, combined with O’Reilly and Landy to form their most productive line, is out for the season with a knee injury.

Black cats.

Bad omens.

Boos from the crowd of 14,063, as the Avs and Coyotes skated off the ice.

“That’s a tough way to lose here,” said forward Matt Duchene, who scored one goal.

The goals scored by Phoenix were cheap enough to be purchased with a $5 Big Lots gift card.

The first one, scored by Doan, bounced into the net during a scrum in front of the goalie.

“(Varlamov) stops that 99 times out of 100,” Duchene said.

The second one, scored by Oliver Ekman-Larsson, whizzed by Varlamov from the right wing. Again, 99 times out of 100. The final one — the unlucky horseshoe that broke the Avs’ back — finished off an otherwise promising effort from the home team.

“I thought overall we played a pretty good hockey game tonight,” Sacco said. “We did a lot of things well.”

Bad luck or no luck at all, the Avs are not without blame. At least, the players on the ice and the coach in the box are not to blame.

This is the first time Colorado has lost three straight home games, in regulation, since November of last season. Those things don’t just happen without cause.

Something must be done with the defense in front of Varlamov. Something must be done with these miserable starts. In first periods, Colorado has been outscored 13-5. Something must be done with O'Reilly’s holdout, which leaves the offense without a valuable piece.

“We’ve got a lot of injuries, which is tough,” Duchene said. “But we’ve got to find a way. That’s the bottom line. We have who we have. At the end of the day we don’t come in here after a loss and say, ‘We need this, we need that.’ We have it in here.

“We had it out there on the ice tonight. It was our game. We just threw it away in the third (period). It’s a tough bounce in overtime. But it should’ve been over in regulation.”

Bad breaks.

Bad news.

"It just is frustrating right now," Sacco said.

Bummer of a loss.

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