Colorado picked up an important two points at home Tuesday night, as the Avalanche beat Calgary by a final score of 6-3. This was the second home win of the season for Colorado; coincidentally, the other finished with the same 6-3 result against Dallas on Oct. 10.

The Avs displayed one of the better all-around team efforts of the season and improved in a few specific problem areas. These improvements – outlined below – are the reason the Avalanche beat the Flames and, if continued, will be critical to gaining ground in the Central Division standings.

Dump with the chase

This season the Avalanche have struggled in winning back the puck after they have dumped it into the offensive zone. The dump and chase can be advantageous to a team that is willing to go hard into the corners and fight to regain possession of the puck. Prior to the game against Calgary, the Avalanche had been dumping, but not chasing.

This aspect of Colorado’s game was stronger on Tuesday night than it had been in any other game so far this season. In fact, winning the dump and chase is directly what caused the game-winning fourth goal for the Avalanche. Nick Holden sent the puck hard in to the offensive zone, the puck rang around to where Jarome Iginla was there to win a battle on the boards for possession. Iginla then proved that he still has great hands with a nice toe drag around a defender, then passed it back in to the slot where Nathan MacKinnon buried it.

Shots on goal

The line combination consisting of Matt Duchene, Carl Soderberg and Gabe Landeskog was responsible for putting 16 shots on target. In total, Colorado took 62 shots, 6 of which were blocked and 14 missed the net. Yes, it is troubling how often the Avalanche miss their target, but they have been needing to find a way to get pucks to the net and generate shots and they certainly did so. Unfortunately for Flames goaltender Karri Ramo, the Avalanche may have figured out their offensive woes against him, achieving a season-high shots on goal with 42 attempts on net.


Putting bodies in front of the net is important for impairing the goalie’s vision on an initial shot, as well as for being in a better position on rebounds. The Avalanche scored three goals using traffic in front of the net on Tuesday night and proved the importance of a crowded crease. Shots through traffic are crucial for beating today’s bigger, faster goaltenders.

The traffic control on the opposite side of the ice was equally vital to the Avs’ win. The Avalanche defense did well keeping Calgary’s forwards away from Semyon Varlamov, allowing him to see most of the shots he faced. There was a bit of a blip when Erik Johnson was blocking Varly’s vision on one of Calgary’s goals, but the opposition’s presence in front of the net seemed almost nonexistent.