Talk about a post-Christmas hangover! The Avalanche entered the Christmas break on a high note, having scratched their way to first place in the Northwest and winning 5 of their previous 6 games. The special teams were on fire (just 6 PP goals against in 10 games), the offense was clicking (4+ goals in 6 of the last 8 games). Heck, even the defense and goaltending was solid, with the Avs holding opponents to two goals or less in 7 of the previous 10 games. All signs pointed to Colorado developing a nice head of steam and reeling of a bunch of points.
Just a week later, and the wheels have fallen off of that train. Colorado has dropped their 3 games since, once to a depleted Stars team and twice to the improved-but-still-last-place Blues. Colorado has been outscored 11-6 over the stretch, allowing 8 PP goals in 16 chances, scoring just 3 PP in 17 chances. The Avs outshot their opponents 97-69 in the strech, but couldn't even get a lead in two of the games. The Avs have taken dumb penalties: bench minors and offensive zone penalties. Probably the worst of all, Colorado has scored exactly ZERO 3rd period goals in the last 3 games, a problem that has been in effect all year; Colorado is 9th in the league in scoring, but a lousy 20th in 3rd period scoring.
Here are the December scoring stats for the Avs.
McLean and Brisbois both missed their 2nd straight with a back injury, and Joel Quenneville went with the same butt-ugly lines as on Friday. I'd venture to guess that these will change on Monday even if nothing changes in the lineup...
- Sakic, Wolski, Brunette: E, 11:26, 10 shots
- Arnason, Rycroft, Svatos: E, 7:53, 5 shots
- Stastny, Laaksonen, Hejduk: E, 10:25, 9 shots
- Turgeon, Richardson, Laperriere: E, 9:35, 2 shots
- Clark & Skrastins: E, 14:27, 2 shots
- Liles & Sauer: E, 12:21, 2 shots
- Klee & Vaananen: E, 12:56, 3 shots
- Skrastins has been on the ice for 10 of the last 12 PP goals scored against the team.
- On December 15th, the Arnason line was a collective +25 for the season, by far the best line on the team. Since then, the line has been -13 to fall back to earth. Arnason has just 1 point and is -5 in that 6-game span
- It was nice to see Sauer interviewed during the first intermission (Altitude broadcast). I'm not sure I'd ever heard him talk - that's quite the Minnesota accent he's got going on there, ya? For the record, I become more in the Play Sauer camp every game I see him in. He deserves better than what he's gotten.
I started inthecheapseats in September, with no real firm plan on what I wanted it to be other than "have fun". It's grown steadily in viewership every month. In November, the site had 633 visitors and 841 page views. December smashed that with 1,036 and 1,547 respectively, which makes me feel that it's all worthwile.
I'm in the process of picking a new theme and am also planning to start better incorporating ads (as inobtrusively as possible). The look may change, but the underlying content should not.
Thank you for reading and I hope you continue to enjoy the view from the cheap seats in the New Year.