Posted November 14, 2011 on
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Falling behind early has become a trend of late for the Colorado Avalanche, contributing greatly to their recent slump.
They'll look for a better start Tuesday night when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins, who remain among the Eastern Conference's best while awaiting the season debut of Sidney Crosby.
Colorado fell behind Calgary 4-0 midway through the second period Saturday, and its comeback attempt fell short in a 4-3 loss.
That marked the third straight game the Avalanche (8-8-1) have had fallen behind by at least three goals. They lost 5-2 at Detroit last Tuesday and rallied to beat the New York Islanders 4-3 in overtime Thursday.
Milan Hejduk, who was named the team's captain Monday, scored in each of those contests while adding an assist against New York and Calgary.
"It's hard to come back every game,'' Hejduk said.
Colorado has allowed the first goal in five games during a 2-6-1 slump, losing each of its three road games in that stretch. Semyon Varlamov allowed four goals on 20 shots Saturday and is 0-4-1 with a 4.26 goals-against average and .835 save percentage during that span.
"Playing catch-up hockey (stinks) and it's too hard to win games like that," defenseman Kyle Quincey said. "You're going to come back once in a while but you're not going to do it consistently.''
Falling behind against the Penguins is something the Avalanche certainly want to avoid.
Pittsburgh is 7-0-3 when scoring first, though it spotted Carolina a three-goal lead before falling 5-3 on Saturday. Jordan Staal scored twice while Chris Kunitz added his sixth goal.
"We had made one or two mistakes that allowed them to get some goals there in the second period, but we still felt like we had the potential to come back,'' Bylsma said.
Despite the loss, the Penguins (10-4-3) are 7-2-1 in their last 10 and have outscored their opponents 12-5 in winning all four home games during that span.
Marc-Andre Fleury had Saturday night off after going 6-0-1 with a 1.38 GAA in his last seven games. He's won his last three starts with a 1.96 GAA against the Avalanche.
James Neal has three goals and five assists during a six-game point streak, and he's provided a big boost with 11 total goals - ranking among the league leaders - while the Penguins await Crosby's return.
Crosby skated with Neal and Evgeni Malkin on the top line in practice Monday, but Bylsma said "there is no change in his status."
Fellow forwards Steve Sullivan (lower body) and Tyler Kennedy (concussion), meanwhile, are game-time decisions.
Neal hasn't done much against Colorado in his career, registering two goals and two assists and a minus-8 rating in 10 games - all while playing for Dallas. Malkin has a goal and five assists in three career games versus the Avalanche, who are 6-2-1 on the road.
Hejduk has five goals and three assists in eight career games in Pittsburgh.
Staal had a goal and an assist in a 3-2 overtime victory over Colorado in the most recent meeting Feb. 16, the Penguins' second straight victory in the series.
The Avalanche, however, had won nine of the previous 10 matchups and are 9-2-0 with one tie in Pittsburgh since 1995.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
When you really think about it, boy have we been taking Sidney Crosby for granted.
Come to think of it, just about everyone's been taking Sidney Crosby for granted.
For six years now, we've seen Crosby face the cameras at nearly every conceivable media opportunity.
Off-day? There's Sid. Practice Day? There's Sid. Game-day...
Despite some confusion following Monday's practice, the return of Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby remains on hold.
Although he skated on a line with Evgeni Malkov and James Neal during Monday's practice, Crosby was officially ruled out for Tuesday night's game against the Colorado Avalanche.
Crosby was the last player to leave the ice Monday but declined...
The beat goes on as it was announced that Sidney Crosby will not play against the Avalanche in Pittsburgh tonight. Since it has been said that he will play his first game at home, that moves the next possible date to next Monday against the Islanders.If you missed last night's Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony, NHL.com's HHOF blog has all the details and the videos of...
Sidney Crosby didn't need to be on the ice for a bunch of high-skill goals to be scored Tuesday night between the Avalanche and Pittsburgh Penguins.
PITTSBURGH – The Avs will avoid the return of Sidney Crosby, as the Penguins star still isn’t ready to return to the lineup.
Here is some video I shot of him at the morning skate just now at the very pretty Consol Energy Center:
Tyler Kennedy and Steve Sullivan will be game-time decisions for the Pens.
Off to see the Avs skate now.
Pens make Avs look like OHL squad in third period of 6-3 win
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-Sidney Crosby wonât play Thursday but will travel to Florida for the annual fathers & sons road trip. Raise your hand if you thought Crosby was coming back 11/11/11. Now pat yourself on the back if you didnât. Simon says.
-Eric Tangradi was returned to...
Over the weekend, Matt Duchene was asked how exciting it might be to play in a game during which Pittsburgh Penguins mega-star Sidney Crosby makes his return after a nearly 11-month absence due to concussion symptoms.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - The Colorado Avalanche have settled on a leader, picking veteran forward Milan Hejduk to serve...
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ESPN with their weekly rankings… 1. Blackhawks 11-4-3 The Blackhawks are in a groove, at least offensively, as they won their third straight game Sunday night after going winless in three to take over top spot in the NHL standings.
2. Penguins 10-4-3 A big win at home against Dallas on Friday was followed by disappointing loss in Carolina on Saturday. But the Pens, still awaiting...
Colorado Avalanche (8-8-1) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (10-4-3)
TV: Versus, TSN2
CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA
It looks like Tyler Kennedy may be in the line-up tonight, proving once and for all that his brain is tougher than Sidney Crosby's brain. Of course, Kennedy isn't a Ferrari, so he can probably just go to a regular mechanic...