OK, no joke. That was the worst game in a long time. A REALLY long time.
How long, you ask? Well if you go back to February 28th, the Avs lost a game at Madison Square Garden by a 6-1 score. Although, coming toward the end of a long road trip, it wasn’t all that surprising. Besides, that game probably didn’t leave Peter Budaj feeling as dirty as he felt on the night of January 2nd, when he was more than eager to go down for a half-dozen BJ’s, allowing half the men of Columbus to come into his house and go 5-hole on him. Four weeks after that 6-1 loss, on January 29th, Toronto came to town and scored seven times to beat the Avs by a 7-4 score, for the most goals surrendered until last night. Still, compared to these three games, last night’s loss was worse.
You could take those four games and write them off, along with the rest of this season, but then you’d only have to go back one more game, to find a very similar result. If you’re like me, you’ve already blanked last year’s playoffs from your memory, but after checking the stats I did recall that Detroit had beaten the Avs 8-2, to clinch last spring’s Western Conference Semi-Finals. But as everyone knows, playoff stats don’t count in the regular season, so you’d need to go back to October of 2006 to find the last time the Avs gave up 8 goals in a regular season game. At the start of his first full season with the Avs, Jose Theodore lost 8-5 to David Aebischer in Montréal, to drop the Avs’ record to (3-3-2). But that was on the road, so where do last night’s 8 goals rank among home games?
Well, you’d have to go all the way back to December of 1992, when the Nordiques lost to Patrick Roy and the Habs by an 8-3 score, to find the last time the franchise gave up eight goals in a home game. In other words, the last time a team came into Denver and scored eight goals was almost 28 years ago, when, you guessed it, the Canadiens made themselves right at home at McNichols with a 9-0 drubbing of the Colorado Rockies. That’s how historic Budaj’s 8-goal meltdown really was.
Not depressed enough, yet? OK, how about this:
The 7-goal margin of defeat last night was so lopsided, that you’d need to go back to March of 2004 to find the last time the Avs came close to being so dominated, when Calgary won by a 7-1 score. To find the last 7-goal margin, go back two more years to the deciding game of the 2002 Western Conference Finals, when, you guessed it, Detroit beat the Avs 7-0 to clinch the series. As for the regular season, the last time the Avs lost by seven goals was in November 1999, in a 7-0 loss in Phoenix. Since that was a road game, I’ll have to take you all the way back to November 1991, when the Nords lost at home 10-3 to the Capitals.
So, as you can see, last night’s loss was the most goals surrendered in the regular season in almost three years, and set the record for the most goals allowed in Denver, in the past 28 years. It was also the biggest humiliation in the regular season in almost ten years, and the most lopsided defeat in Denver since that game 28 years ago. I don’t think this needs to be debated any further.
Last night’s loss was the worst game in Avalanche history. Period.