Numbers game: Tuesday’s 4-2 victory was the Avalanche’s 82nd regular-season game of 2021

Dec 14, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) celebrates his goal with teammates with defenseman Jack Johnson (3) and left wing Andre Burakovsky (95) and center Nathan MacKinnon (29) in the first period against the New York Rangers at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Everything around the NHL has been a blur since COVID reared its head into the world and nothing proves it more than the amount of hockey that’s been crammed into one calendar year.

The NHL paused play for four and a half months in 2020 only to return for two months to complete the bubble playoffs before a three-month offseason. That all finally came to an end when the puck dropped for the 2020-21 regular season on Jan. 13, 2021. The shortened 56-game season and playoffs ended less than six months later, setting up another quick offseason before an 82-game 2021-22 season began in mid-October.

“It’s hard to really remember which season happened when,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said prior to Tuesday’s victory over the New York Rangers.

That win on Tuesday was the 82nd regular-season game Colorado has played in 2021 — with 10 playoff matches crammed in the middle.

In a normal world, 82 games signify one whole regular season. So we’re going to look back at the Avalanche’s last 82 games — all played in an 11-month stretch — as if it were one season. How many games did they win? Who led the team in scoring? How special were their special teams?

Let’s break it all down.

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6 — Twenty-goal scorers with Mikko Rantanen leading the way, scoring 43 goals in 75 games. Second place is Andre Burakovsky, who is the only other player to eclipse the 30-goal mark, scoring 31 goals in 78 games. His five tallies since Friday have certainly helped. Gabriel Landeskog has 29 goals, Nazem Kadri has 22 and Cale Makar 21.

6 — Goalies that saw action for the Avalanche. Former Av Philipp Grubauer leads the way with 40 starts (and 30 wins) with current starting goalie Darcy Kuemper in second place with 18 starts (13-5-0). Recently claimed by the Florida Panthers off waivers, Jonas Johansson made 13 starts and was 8-3-2. Colorado also had games played by Justus Annunen, Hunter Miska and Devan Dubnyk.

7 — Shorthanded goals scored by the Avs — six of which have come this season. The Avalanche are tied for ninth in shorthanded goals during this stretch.

23 — Percent efficiency on the power play for the Avs, the sixth-best percentage in the NHL during the stretch. Colorado’s 71 power-play goals are also second-most in the NHL trailing only the Edmonton Oilers (74). The Avalanche also drew the most penalties. They had 310 opportunities with the man advantage, which is a whopping 35 more than second-place (Florida, 275).

45 — Different skaters that have dressed for the Avalanche. Only San Jose (50), Vancouver (47) and Arizona (46) have had more. Justin Barron’s debut was No. 45 — the most among all Cup-contending teams. This alone shows just how much the Avs have had to deal with in regards to both injuries and COVID cases over the past 11 months.

56 — Victories over 82 games. The Avs have the most wins in this stretch, with the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes trailing one win behind. Colorado is 56-20-6 since Jan. 13, 2021.

65 — Assists from superstar center Nathan MacKinnon, the most by an Avalanche player during this stretch. MacKinnon missed 18 games with injury or COVID over the past season and a half, meaning his 65 assists have come in 64 games.

72 — Percent of points accumulated in 82 games. The Avalanche’s 56-20-6 record means they would’ve had 118 points in a full year.

81 — Percent of all shorthanded opportunities killed by the Avs. Colorado wasn’t as strong on the penalty kill as it was on the power play during this stretch. The 81 percent efficiency is good for 14th in the league.

218 — Goals surrendered by the Avs’ six goalies that saw action. Colorado was fifth in the league (not including Seattle) in goals against. The Avalanche allowed the second-least goals during the 2021 regular season (133).

309 — Total goals scored by the Avalanche. Second place is more than 20 goals behind, meaning Colorado is the only team to reach the 300-goal mark.

BONUS: 150 — Points by Edmonton Oilers phenom Connor McDavid over 82 games. McDavid had 49 goals and 101 assists for Edmonton, appearing in all 82 regular-season games played in 2021 to date.

Team Leaderboard:

Games Played
1. Tyson Jost — 80
2. Nazem Kadri — 79
3. Andre Burakovsky — 78
4. Gabriel Landeskog — 76
5. Mikko Rantanen — 75
Next up: Samuel Girard (72), Valeri Nichushkin (72)

Goals
1. Mikko Rantanen — 43
2. Andre Burakovsky — 31
3. Gabriel Landeskog — 29
4. Nathan MacKinnon — 23
5. Nazem Kadri — 22
Next up: Cale Makar (21), Valeri Nichushkin (19)

Assists
1. Nathan MacKinnon — 65
2. Mikko Rantanen — 51
3. Gabriel Landeskog – 50
4. Cale Makar — 49
5. Nazem Kadri — 47
Next up: Samuel Girard (39), Devon Toews (38)

Points
1. Mikko Rantanen — 94
2. Nathan MacKinnon — 88
3. Gabriel Landeskog — 79
4. Cale Makar — 70
5. Nazem Kadri — 69
Next up: Andre Burakovsky (65), Devon Toews (51)

Plus-minus
1. Devon Toews — plus-48
2. Mikko Rantanen — plus-42
3. Gabriel Landeskog — plus-26
4. Cale Makar — plus-23
5. Nathan MacKinnon — plus-20
5. Valeri Nichushkin — plus-20
Next up: Erik Johnson (plus-17), Samuel Girard (plus-17)

Penalty minutes
1. Gabriel Landeskog — 78
2. Nazem Kadri — 64
3. Ryan Graves — 55
4. Mikko Rantanen — 50
5. Nathan MacKinnon — 43
Next up: Liam O’Brien (40), Tyson Jost (36)

Power-play points
1. Mikko Rantanen (35)
2. Cale Makar (32)
3. Nathan MacKinnon (31)
4. Nazem Kadri (22)
5. Gabriel Landeskog (22)
Next up: Andre Burakovsky (20), Samuel Girard (12)

Game-winning goals
1. Gabriel Landeskog — 9
2. Mikko Rantanen — 7
3. Cale Makar — 6
4. Andre Burakovsky — 5
5. Nazem Kadri — 4
Next up: Nathan MacKinnon (3), Alex Newhook (3)

Shots on goal
1. Nathan MacKinnon — 270
2. Mikko Rantanen — 252
3. Nazem Kadri — 240
4. Gabriel Landeskog — 216
5. Cale Makar — 168
Next up: Devon Toews (154), Andre Burakovsky (152)

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Aarif Deen
 is our Colorado Avalanche beat reporter. He covers Avs games live from Ball Arena and attends practices, media availabilities and other events pertaining to the Avs on the daily beat. He is also a co-host of Hockey Mountain High: Your go-to Avalanche Podcast. Deen joined Mile High Sports upon completion of his bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Before Mile High Sports, Deen worked for the Michigan Wolverines Athletics Department as the assistant sports information director.

Follow him on Twitter @runwriteAarif

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