The Colorado Avalanche started the season on fire, racing out to a 14-2-0 record under new coach Patrick Roy, while ostensibly blaming former coach Joe Sacco for much of their past problems.
But while the Avs still boast a respectable record of 26-12-4, good enough for a playoff spot in the tough Western Conference, a 12-10-4 mark in their last 26 games has to be cause for concern.
On Monday, Colorado dropped a 4-3 decision to one of the NHL’s worst teams, the Calgary Flames. For that, Roy chose to blame his goalie, Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
“We may not have had the jump that we should have, but Giggy should have been better,” Roy said. “He hasn’t played well in the past four or five games and he should stand up and say, `I’m not playing up to what I should.’ He needs to be better and we need to have him playing better. Period.”
One of the greatest ever at the position, Roy obviously understands the importance of goaltending, which overall has been excellent in Colorado this season. In fact, the tandem of Semyon Varlamov and Giguere has combined for a team save percentage of .921, the fourth highest in the NHL.
How important has goaltending been for Colorado? Well, it’s helped the Avs win 15 games in which they’ve been outshot. In that category, only Toronto (17) has more.
Of course, we’ve seen how unsustainable the Leafs’ previous winning ways have turned out to be. Along those lines, per Extra Skater, here’s how the Avs’ puck-possession stats have been trending:
That’s not good, unless you’re one of the teams trying to catch the Avs in the standings.
Colorado hosts streaking Ottawa tonight.