It's no secret this season that the Avalanche haven't been shooting the puck very much. They've been out-shot in 28 of 35 games so far. Though the last two games (34-22, 35-21) indicate a turn for the better, the Avs have been reliably behind their opponents when it comes to firing pucks at the net.
But so what? How important is out-shooting an opponent when it comes to winning games? The Avs record is 19-10-6, and they sit atop the Northwest Division and in second place in the Western Conference with nearly half the season complete. Apparently the shooting deficits are not hurting them too much.
I decided to look at the shooting stats of each NHL team, compared to each team's point percentage. "Point percentage" is the percent of games played in which a team scores at least one point.
The categories, in order, are shots for per game (SF/G), shots against per game (SA/G), shots ratio (SF/SA), point percentage (P%) and point percentage rank (P%Rnk). Teams are ordered by shots ratio.
Colorado and the Florida Panthers are the worst teams in the league for shot ratio, but their point percentages are drastically different. Colorado is the ninth-best team in the NHL for scoring points in the standings, while Florida is 28th. Another team with a similar contrary relationship between shooting and success is the Calgary Flames.
On the flip side, the Maple Leafs and the Flyers regularly out-shoot their opponents (Toronto leads the whole league with 1092 shots for), but are near the bottom of the league in points overall. Detroit is also a high-shooting team that still sits outside the post-season cutoff line.
Overall, there is a correlation between out-shooting opponents and winning games or making it to overtime. But that correlation is not causal, and any claim that teams that can't out-shoot their opponents are destined for defeat is just not accurate. Seven of the sixteen teams that reached the playoffs in 2008-09 had negative shot ratios during the regular season, including the Cup-winning Pittsburgh Penguins (.96).
It should be noted, however, that the lowest shots ratio of those seven playoff teams was the .92 of the Philadelphia Flyers, who averaged 29.8 shots per game. While St. Louis averaged the second-lowest number of shots for in the league during the regular season (27.7) and still made the playoffs, no team with a shots ratio below .90 made the post-season in 2008-09. The Avs are currently below both benchmarks.
While taking few shots and being out-shot by opponents is not determinative of a team's ultimate success, those categories shouldn't be ignored. If the last two games are any indication, the Avalanche aren't ignoring them. Hopefully that is the case. It definitely couldn't hurt to put opposing teams under more pressure.