Over the past 5 games the Colorado Avalanche have scored just 5 goals. They have earned one shutout and have been shut out twice during that time frame.
Colorado Avalanche fans have a tendency to punch the panic button as soon as winning stops, well as soon as anything goes wrong really. Right now the main concern is the lack of goals produced by a roster that should have little trouble putting the puck in the back of the net.
I too have been guilty of prematurely panicking in the past, but this time around I’m encouraged rather than distressed over the team’s play. There are several factors that suggest Colorado’s best play is yet to come.
1) The Avalanche’s Schedule:
Colorado has had one of the toughest schedules to start the year. After their season opener
against Dallas, they went on a 4-game road trip against arguably the top 4 teams in the Eastern
conference and which featured one back to back.
Once that was over the Avs had 5 DAYS OFF and then kicked things off with a second set of back to back games. Currently, they’re in a Central Division swing where, you guessed it, they’re finishing up their third back to back of the season.
Luckily for Colorado, their season as a whole is considered one of the easier schedules in the league. The beginning however, has been no cake walk. Expect easier opponents as the season progresses.
2) Extremely Low PDO
PDO is often cited as “puck luck”. What it actually measures is the sum of the team’s shooting percentage (S%) and save percentage (SV%). PDO will fluctuate from game to game, but over the course of a season every team’s PDO should be around 100.
As I’m currently writing this, Colorado’s PDO is 96.4, good for 2nd lowest in the league. We can attribute part of that to Varlamov’s poor play, (which I expect will pick up shortly) but what’s really killing the Avs is their abysmal shooting percentage.
Over the past 5 games Colorado has racked up 170 shots, which have produced just 5 goals. That means they’re averaging 34 shots a game, which is fantastic, but they’re only scoring at a rate of 2.94%. Traditionally league average has been around 9%. This will almost definitely regress back to normal, causing a jump in goal-scoring.
3) Improved Possession:
Last season the Avalanche were dead last in league possession, and not by a small margin. They had a Corsi For% (CF%) of 44.34%. So far this year they are 20th in the league with a CF% of 48.68%. A jump of 4.34% is MASSIVE. While they’re still under 50%, I expect these numbers will continue to rise.