Wins and losses in the preseason are irrelevant but that doesn’t mean the preseason is irrelevant. There are lessons to be learned in the preseason and trends that can be picked up on. With that, there are some troubling trends surfacing for the Colorado Avalanche once again.
Here are the three troubling trends that must be addressed before the puck drops on the real season.
Power play efficiency
Last season, Colorado had the 29th ranked power play in the NHL. Yes, 29 out of 30. Given their offensive talent that is mind-boggling and a major cause for concern. Early in the preseason things haven’t looked much better. Over the last two games the Avs are 0-for-5 on the power play. They went 0-for-4 against the Flames, performances such as that can’t continue in the regular season. Patrick Roy must do a better job creating situations for players to succeed on the man advantage. It’s up for debate whether that’s scheme or line combinations; either way, Colorado has to figure out how to put the puck in the net on the power play if they hope to make the playoffs.
Shots on goal
Here we go again. Sunday the Avalanche made it easy on beat writers to write a game recap. All they needed to do was copy and paste a story from last year and update the opponent. The headlines always look a little something like this.
“Varlamov gives great effort in X-X loss against the XXX as Colorado is badly outshot.”
On Sunday Varly stopped 35 of the 36 shots he faced; his teammates on the other hand mustered up a pitiful 18 shots on Kings. Colorado eventually lost 2-1 in a shootout. This team can’t survive another season being completely dominated in shots on goal. They have to get better at limiting second chance opportunities, clearing the puck from their defensive zone and possessing it in their offensive zone.
Preseason game 1 – Avs score five goals
Preseason game 2 – Avs shutout
Preseason game 3 – Avs score one goal
Six goals over three games sounds great but that doesn’t tell the full story. Last year it was feast or famine in the goal department for Colorado, so far this year things are shaping up the same. Once again, Colorado’s too offensively talented to not consistently put the puck in the net. Five goal games are nice but following that up with one goal over two games isn’t going to cut it. Matt Duchene, Gabe Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon need to make sure they’re leading a balanced offense nightly.