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Avalanche Oddities: The Shootout

Yes, we are allowed to run photos of players other than Adam Foote (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Yes, we are allowed to run photos of players other than Adam Foote (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
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Over the next few days or so, I'll be looking at some of the odd stats that made up our wonderful really odd season. There's no point in slow-playing this one, so I'm going to start right at the top. Or bottom.

The Colorado Avalanche allowed 287 goals, more than any other team in the last 5 years. Only three teams in the post-lockout era have allowed more - the Flyers in '06-'07 and the Capitals and Penguins in '05-'06 (and, as always, screw Gary Bettman for making this an "era"). Depending on who you ask, you could blame injuries, our defensemen, bad coaching, or, if you watch Altitude, lots of funny bounces. At some point, however, you have to reach a point where you have to admit that our goaltending was not exactly top-notch.

Except, that is, in the shootout.

In the 27 shootout attempts that Avalanche goalies faced this year, they allowed a grand total of TWO goals. As a frame of reference, Roberto Luongo had 26 shootout attempts against him this year and allowed 12 goals.  Mike Ribeiro beat Peter Budaj on November 20th and Ryan Clowe beat Brian Elliott on March 1st. That's it. In the history of the NHL, no team had ever allowed less than 3 goals in the shootout on the season and no team had ever had a collective save percentage over .900. No team, that is, until the Avalanche goaltending juggernaut came along this year and blew that out of the water with their .926. Okay, the history of the NHL shootout isn't all that long (thanks again, Gary), but this is still an amazing stat. Statistically, the worst goaltending trio in the league this year absolutely owned the league when it came down to a one-on-one battle. Incredible, really.

And the goalies had to be good in the shootout, because their teammates had a lot of trouble getting it done on the other end of the ice. In the 7 shootouts this year, the Avs had more than 1 successful attempt in just once - when Chris Stewart and Kevin Porter scored two to Ribeiro's one in the November 20th game mentioned above. They couldn't score at all in the San Jose game, losing 1-0 in the shootout. The other 5 games were all 1-0 shootout wins, thanks to the stellar play of Budaj (13 of 14 saves), Elliott (9 of 10) and Anderson (3 for 3).

Just think, without those extra six points we would have been...oh, looks like we would have been in the exact same spot in the standings. Ah, well, forget I brought it up then. Carry on!