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The Avalanche Can’t Win in Colorado

Colorado is consistently struggling, particularly on their own home ice

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

After their December 1st loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Colorado Avalanche are in last place in the Western Conference's Central division, tied for the fewest points in the entire NHL. Perhaps even more alarmingly, Colorado is just 4-7-1 on home ice, one of the worst home records in the sport.

The Avalanche also had major trouble at home last season, when they finished just 17-20-1 in their own building despite being in the playoff chase for most of the regular season. The reasons for such struggles are hard to pinpoint, though it's easy to see that the team hasn't been very good this season no matter the location, home or road. That is part of the issue; Colorado is not a great hockey team right now.

Last week, new head coach Jared Bednar pointed out that his team seemed to lack intensity and that there were "too many guys wading into the game, seeing how the game goes. We need more passion. We need more intensity." Though that's an explanation for the struggles, it is also reactionary to a loss. If Bednar knew what was going on at home, he would have been able to put an end to it by now.

What has plagued the Avalanche is falling behind early. In the past three home games alone, Colorado has fallen behind by a combined 4-0 score before finding the back of the net. The Avalanche haven't scored first in a game since the beginning of this current five-game home stand.

Combined with the slow starts is the fact that the team's goaltending has been very shaky. Neither Semyon Varlamov nor Calvin Pickard has been able to put together multiple quality starts in a row. Pickard has far better numbers on the season, but even he has allowed multiple goals in six of his seven starts. In his four home games, Pickard has been far worse than on the road. Varlamov has actually been better at home, but "better" is relative; he's been so bad on the road.

The team certainly misses the output and impact of Gabriel Landeskog, but that can only explain away so much. Landeskog was placed on injured reserve with his lower-body injury, and there is currently no date for his expected return. In the meantime, the rest of the Avalanche need to pick it up, specifically on home ice. Colorado is currently dead last in the league in Fenwick For, a measure of total shots (shots+misses) a team attempts. For as bad as everyone wants to say the goaltending and defense has been, the offense has also not pulled its weight. This lackadaisical beginning to the 2016-17 season is a complete team effort. Opponents currently look forward to traveling to Colorado. The Pittsburgh Penguins are the next squad looking to take advantage. They are just 3-7-4 on the road and have a worse goal differential than Colorado. Something's gotta give!