I think everyone's gut instinct to a game like the Avs 8-2 kick to the crotch is to overreact a little bot. Certainly when the Avs play that poorly it the most sour impressions in the mouths of Avs fans. But sometimes those games just happen.
Case in point, Columbus got routed by Les Ailes last Wednesday 9-1. They have since won two games in a row over the Ducks and the Oilers. Looking at the Blue Jackets can provide solace to the Avs, but it also shows how good teams (and Columbus is a good team) respond to adversity. The key to that 8-2 game isn't how badly the Avs lost but how well they respond to it. I think the next three games will really give us a handle on how well this team can handle adversity. If the Avs go 0-2-1 It might be time to eat some crow and admit that this team may have been more lucky than we wanted to admit, of course if they lose, it depends how they do it too.
Joe Sacco also gets his first real test to face adversity here as well. He gambled by trying to challenge his team by calling Saturday's game a "must-win" when it certainly wasn't must-win. Then the team came out and laid an egg. This is all on the heels of the Avs first slump of the season (2-4-1 in their last 7). so it'll be interesting to see how he handles it.
But there's no question in my mind that this week's games are the three most interesting of the season, as the Avs face some real adversity for the first time. For added drama they are all against divisional foes, on the road, and all three are in the span of 4 days. For added drama the finale is against the same team that just handed the Avs their lunch.
I wouldn't go as far as to call these games must-win, but they are pretty important.