Colorado Avalanche finding it hard to score goals


Last season, the Colorado Avalanche were an offensive juggernaut, scoring nearly three goals per game (2.99) which ranked them fourth in the entire National Hockey League. What a difference a year makes. After a 1-0 shutout out loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Colorado ranks 21st in the league in goals per game, scoring just 2.50 per contest. I know you’re thinking, does .49 really mean that much? Yes it does in fact.

This is basically the same team from a year ago minus Paul Stastny who now plays for the Blues. Stasnty was a great set-up man and his defense is missed. Stastny has recorded 12 points (7 goals, 5 assists) in 23 games played this season. If you put him on the Avalanche, he would be tied for third in goals and would hold the sixth spot for points. Granted, he has played nearly seven less games than the top-five scorers for the Avs.

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It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the problem is, but there are two players that have struggled in the goal column: Nathan MacKinnon and Ryan O’Reilly. Heading into this season, these were two out of the four players (Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog) who needed to light the lamp in order for Colorado to be successful. The two [O’Reilly, MacKinnon] combined have scored just ten goals in ten games – five apiece. Heck, defenseman Zach Redmond has scored three goals in 19 games.

Colorado has had to shuffle lines quite a bit early on this season due to injury, but that shouldn’t be a factor. This is a hockey club that is too good to be towards the bottom of the Western Conference standings. The blue-line is still an area that Colorado needs to correct, but the lack of scoring has been a bigger problem.

The goaltending has been fantastic in the absence of Semyon Varlamov. Calvin Pickard has picked up the torch, playing excellent hockey. The second-round pick back in the 2010 draft is currently 4-5-1 on the season, sporting a 2.42 goals against average. Not to mention, Pickard holds a save percentage of .927%. In Colorado’s shutout loss to Pittsburgh Thursday night, Pickard saved 47-of-48 shots. The goal he gave up was in overtime as Colorado was outshot 48-29 throughout the game.

Like I said earlier, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s going on, but this team is too good to be sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. It just seems like this team is lacking the spark they had last season which led them to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.