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What's Working And What's Not: Avalanche Team Stats

The season is still quite young, and the Avalanche have only played 15 games to date.  There's a lot of hockey left to play.  But it's not too early to take a look at some team statistics and see how Colorado fares against the other teams in the league.

Short answer: Not very well.

Longer answer: Not very well, but it's not a lost cause, and some numbers show some promise.

Below I've listed a few statistical categories, the number for the Avs, and their ranking in the league.  I've added some commentary here and there where I thought it was appropriate.

Point Percentage: .467 (22nd)

Because the number of games played varies so much between teams at this point in the season, ranking them by point percentage is better than by points.  For example, Calgary has five more points in the standings than Colorado right now, but they're only three spots higher overall because they've played three more games and have a mediocre record of 9-8-1.

Goals Per Game: 2.60 (22nd)

Goals Against Per Game: 3.07 (19th)

Five-on-Five Goals For/Against Ratio: 0.76 (28th)

Obviously the Avs are giving up too many goals at even strength, and are no longer scoring very often to counterbalance those.  The best team in the league in this stat, Boston, has a ratio of 1.83. 

Power Play Percentage: 15.2 (23rd)

Penalty Kill Percentage: 79.6 (21st)

Special teams mediocrity is one of the most glaring problems facing the Avs so far this year.  Minnesota, the club with the best overall special teams in the league, is ranked 4th overall in power play conversion (23.4%) and 1st overall in penalty killing (93.2%).  Coach Granato needs to start taping Wild games.

Shots Per Game: 28.9 (18th)

Shots Against Per Game: 26.5 (3rd)

The Avalanche are not allowing a lot of shots, but the shots they allow are beating their goaltenders.  Lots of second and third chances aren't being prevented by the defense.  The last two games have seen a visible decline of quality shots allowed, but this trend must continue for the Avs to keep winning.

Winning Percentage When Scoring First: .750 (5th)

When the Avs score first, their chance of winning is high.  Just to make us all feel better, the Chicago Blackhawks rank dead last in the league with a winning percentage of .429 when scoring first.  That seems like vintage Coach Quenneville to me.

Winning Percentage When Trailing First: .364 (15th)

The Avs are in the dead center of the league on this stat, and their number isn't too shabby considering how bad some other teams in the league have been.  The Columbus Blue Jackets have not come from behind to win a single game this season so far.  The San Jose Sharks, on the other hand, have a better win percentage when trailing first (.875) than they do when scoring first (.700).  But they've won all but four of their games, so that's probably not a great stat anyway.

Winning Percentage When Leading After The First Period: .667 (17th)

Winning Percentage When Leading After The Second Period: 1.000 (T1st)

I'd say the second stat is a nice change of pace from the Coach Q era.  The Avs have blown a couple of late leads, of course, but they haven't lost in overtime and they aren't collapsing in the third period like they did so often the last couple of seasons.

Winning Percentage When Outshooting Opponents: .286 (29th)

Winning Percentage When Being Outshot By Opponents: .625 (7th)

Obviously the Avs aren't relying on sheer firepower to win games, at least not lately.  And with the weak Avalanche defense/goaltending overall, opposing teams haven't had to, either.

Face Off Win Percentage: 52.3 (7th)

This is a freaking miracle.  Not much else to say.

The Colorado Avalanche are a very mediocre team to this point, but there is a lot of potential there.  The special teams must improve, but the faceoffs and their play in the third period are both very solid.  They must give up fewer quality shots and second/third chances to net-crashing opponents.  And, of course, they need to score more goals than they allow at even strength so their special teams weaknesses can't be exploited.

All easier said than done, of course.