Don’t look now, but the Colorado Avalanche are on a roll. The Avs have earned at least one point in eight straight games and that has them back in the top spot in the Central Division.
The Avalanche had a slow start to this 2021-2022 NHL season, going 4-5-1 in their first ten games. That stunned some fans, considering that Colorado is supposed to cruise to a division title and eventually win the Stanley Cup.
Those struggles in the season’s opening weeks, combined with the resurgence of teams like the Nashville Predators (24-12-3), St. Louis Blues (22-11-5), and Minnesota Wild (22-10-2), gave the impression that the Avalanche had taken some kind of step in backward.
In reality though, the Avs have posted a 20-3-2 record since November 11 and have owned one of the league’s best point percentages for much of the season. The truth is that Colorado has been in top form for the vast majority of the season, and the standings finally reflect that.
The club’s current point streak was extended to eight games (7-0-1) on Saturday, and that’s the longest such streak for the Avalanche this season. It’s also the third time they have compiled a point streak that reached at least six games. In addition, Colorado has strung together at least five consecutive victories on three occasions on the year.
The Avalanche have taken over the top spot in the Western Conference.
Now at 24-8-3 overall, this team has hurdled each of its division rivals to claim the number one position in the Central. Technically, the Predators have the same point total (51) as the Avalanche, but Colorado has played four fewer games. The Avs’ .729 point percentage ranks third in the NHL and first among Western Conference clubs.
Leading the way for the Avalanche are six skaters that are averaging over a point per game on the year. Forward Nazem Kadri leads the team in both assists (35) and points (49), Mikko Rantanen leads in goals (19), and Devon Toews is tied for the NHL lead in plus-minus (plus-29).
Of course, it doesn’t end there. Nathan MacKinnon is top-five in the NHL in points per game (1.52), and Cale Makar leads all defensemen in goals (16). No matter where you look, the Avalanche have contributors in all areas of the game, and several of them are near the top of NHL leaderboards in a variety of statistical categories.
The only negative regarding this team is that it has struggled defensively at times, as the penalty killing unit ranks near the bottom of the league and the goaltending has been far from great. However, I would argue that that may actually be a positive thing for the Avalanche. If they are playing this well with average goaltending and an inefficient PK unit, I think most teams would be scared to see what they look like with improvements in those areas.
Hockey fans knew that the Avalanche weren’t going to stay out of a playoff spot, or even the division lead, for long. Yet, whether you were aware of just how well the Avs were playing or not, there’s no denying it now.