The Colorado Avalanche have always been a team known for its offensive prowess, and Joe Sakic along with Patrick Roy don’t plan on changing that whatsoever. Why would they? Colorado boasts some of the best upcoming talent in the league, with massive offensive upside.
Consistency Top of the List
Having played four games into the new season, the Avalanche have had a mixed bag of results. On opening night vs the Minnesota Wild, the Avalanche totally dominated the first 45 minutes of the game. Going ahead by three goals before the Wild mounted a comeback in the third period, scoring four goals to win the game 5 to 4 which is just unacceptable.
Colorado’s next opponent was the Dallas Stars who put the Avalanche down 3 to 1 until the Avs mounted a comeback of their own. They dug themselves out of a hole, which they did in impressive fashion. Colorado went on to beat Dallas 6 to 3, scoring five unanswered goals to get their first victory of the year, while showing great character.
Against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, the Avalanche were facing a desperate team who had not won a game to start the season. Colorado was obviously not prepared, making way too many mental errors costing them the game which ended as a blowout, 6 to 2 at home.
Colorado played last night in their fourth game in their first road game against the much feared Anaheim Ducks. A Ducks team playing at home, without a win, and only one goal in their three games. The Avalanche had to be prepared, most importantly, backup goalie Reto Berra, and he didn’t disappoint. Colorado went on to shutout the Ducks 3 to 0, with their record now sitting at .500, two wins, two losses.
With that said, Colorado isn’t panicking, nor should they. After all the change during the offseason, it’s only natural for the team to need some time to gel. One thing is for sure, this is a high scoring club, it’s exactly what the Avalanche want.
Sticking to the Plan
There is a lot to be excited about and a lot that can be improved. Offense is definitely one of those things to be excited about if you’re an Avalanche fan. Captain Gabe Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon are wrecking havoc on the opponents, both are on the verge of breakout years. While Colorado’s new depth is definitely showing as well.
The power play is much improved, as it should be, and with the great Avalanche PK, they could end up with one of the best specialty teams by season’s end. So the offense is fine, but the defense and goaltending to start the year has been worrisome. Though a much better overall team performance in Anaheim has the team in high spirits, poised for a winning streak.
Semyon Varlamov has not been close to his best, which does account for some of the poor GA numbers. Varly will bounce back, he’s one of the best, no question. He has been hung out to dry too many times already and I expect that to stop immediately.
Now it’s a matter of putting everything together at once for the Avs. Most importantly the defense that leads to their explosive offense.
Roy does not need to change his offensive strategy, but he does need to get the team to stop making so many unforced errors that lead to possession or goals against.
Putting the Pieces Together
Now that you can put a big check inside the offense box, Colorado needs to put the rest of the pieces together. Check some more boxes. A better transition from defense to offense along with simple crisp tape to tape passes will cut down on more potential losses drastically.
Half of the defensive core is new, plus several new forwards, so some acclimation is expected. Partners are still being figured out on the back-end. However, they must be quick about it or risk falling behind very early. This is a better team than last season’s. You can just tell, they have already exploded for 15 goals in just 4 games.
The Colorado Avalanche will stick to their plan, they just have to complete the puzzle. Once Varlamov gets going while forming stronger team chemistry, the Avalanche will be a force in the league yet again.
This must happen soon though, this league is too tough to stumble out the gates, not to mention the strength of the central division and the western conference itself.
Colorado’s next game comes Sunday versus the Las Angeles Kings, another team who is really struggling to score goals to start the season.
Sebastian Noble is currently in his third year with The Hockey Writers covering the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers. Liverpool, England, and of course Colorado Avalanche & Florida Panthers supporter. You can follow him on Twitter @SebastianHNoble