Tag Archives: Avalanche Game Preview

Colorado Avalanche Have Chance at Revenge vs Blues

The Colorado Avalanche come off a tough loss to conference foe Golden Knights. They now have fellow conference and division foe, St. Louis Blues, next on the docket.

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The Colorado Avalanche is in the middle of finding an identity and fitting in some new pieces. This has many in Avalanche Country looking to pull the rip-cord. I say hold on, this is a long season that is only 2-weeks old. No wholesale changes should be made after 5 games.

With that being said, there are some areas of concern. The Avalanche has the 30th ranked power-play at a paltry 9.1%. They are also 26th in penalty minutes (71) and 23rd in shooting% (.083). No offensive category has them ranked above 20th.

The undefeated Blues on the other hand…well just look at this team comparison against the Colorado Avalanche courtesy of Yahoo! Sports:

The Blues have come out the gate firing after their early exit at the hands of the Avalanche in last year’s playoffs. But they will be without old friends Ryan O’Reilly and Brandon Saad due to Covid-19 protocols that played a big role in their win over the Avs earlier this season. Ryan and Brandon combined for 2 points, 3 SOGs, 21 FWs, 1 hit, 4 blocks, and 3 takeaways in the Blues’ 5-3 win. They obviously had a point to prove to their old squad.

This does not mean this Blues squad is overwhelmingly weakened. They still have the likes of top goal scorer David Perron (6 G) and Vladimir Tarasenko who has 6 points and 26 SOG. This St. Louis squad is still loaded for bear and a home crowd to feed off of.

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They also have the confidence of thoroughly dominating this team in their house just a little more than a week ago. Those memories are fresh for both the Avs and Blues bench. Not so sure they are in Vegas as they have the Blues as home underdogs as of this writing. Either they see the losses of O’Reilly and Saad or see more in the Knights loss than even I did.

Key Stats:


Yes, the Colorado Avalanche has lost twice this season with their goalie surpassing this mark. This is an outlier, market correction will come, and should soon.


This is the combined +/- of Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog. While their scoring has seen an uptick over the last 2 games, their efficiency is still lacking.

Key Players:

Logan O’Connor: Can the little-known winger continue to shine on defense while adding some offense? (13 SOGs, 1 pt)

Bo Byram/Cale Makar: Can the youngsters trust the process after a tough loss and keep up the defensive energy they displayed throughout the Knights matchup?

Mikko Rantanen: He is the early season MVP and most consistent player on both ends. Can he continue this ride to a possible career year?

Final Prediction:

Colorado 3- St. Louis 1

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Colorado Avalanche Face Division Foe Las Vegas in Return Home

The Colorado Avalanche return home a little banged up. Las Vegas comes in depleted in what should have been a marquee matchup.

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The Colorado Avalanche draw another tough foe with an injury-depleted roster in their return to Ball Arena. Las Vegas comes into the Mile High City limping, both figuratively and literally. They have 9 players on the IL currently, with names varying from Zac Whitecloud to Max Pacioretty. They will not get the best of their division rival in this one.

The Colorado Avalanche have returned to the favorites and it’s easy to see why Vegas would turn against it’s own when you look at this team comparison courtesy of Yahoo! Sports:

As much as I have made of the Avalanche’s struggles on the power-play. The Knights are one of only two teams that are worse. Vegas has yet to score a power-play goal this season. And one thing I probably haven’t talked about enough is the Avalanche Penalty Kill unit. They are stoning opponent power-plays at an 81.3% clip. That’s despite the sloppy play during their 3-game losing streak that has them middle of the pack in penalty minutes.

Not drawing penalties is one strength this Vegas team has shown in the early going. As evidenced by the graphic above showing they are 2nd in the league currently. This means we may not have to talk much about power-plays like in our other previews and reviews. But this is historically a heated rivalry, so that could counteract this balance.

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However this matchup ends up going, it will sure to be a hard-fought victory either way. Vegas has prided itself on its size and scoring ability. While the Avalanche has gone the speed and athleticism route. Which has always led to some exhilarating matchups. I’m not so sure Vegas has the bodies left to keep up in the thin air of Denver.

Key Stats:


That’s how many points MacKinnon has after his big game in Tampa. For the Avs to continue winning, he will need this to spark his own personal streak. As he goes, this team goes.


This is Darcy Kuemper’s current GAA, although he bounced back nicely against Tampa. He needs to get this much closer to his career average of 2.48. Avalanche fans should look forward to some market correction here.

Key Players:

Bo Byram: His fire against Tampa was wonderful to see and as I have stressed, this Knights team has been lightened. He will need to throw his weight around.

Cale Makar: Just like with Bo, can he continue the improved defensive effort and physical play he displayed against Tampa?

Mikko Rantanen: The current Avs Goal Leader is an underrated scoring asset this team deploys deftly. If he can continue this pace with the improved play of Mack and Landy, this team will show why they are the favorites for a second straight President’s Trophy.

Final Prediction:

Colorado 4 – Las Vegas 1

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Colorado Avalanche Face Reigning Champs

The Colorado Avalanche are stuck in a 3-game losing streak. They look to end it against the defending champs in Tampa.

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The Colorado Avalanche were the odds-on preseason favorite to wint it all. The Tampa Bay Lightning are the defending back-to-back champs. Neither team has displayed that dominance through 4 games in the 2021/2022 season. The Avalanche sit at 1-3 after 3 straight listless losses. The Lightning sit at 2-2 after consecutive losses of their own.

I don’t know of anyone that believes the early season struggles for either of these teams to continue for any extended period of time. But it sure has bandwagoners ready to jump ship on both sides. If you truly understand hockey, you know both rosters are far too stacked to struggle indefinitely.

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The Avalanche have had buzzsaw of early opponents with the undefeated Panthers and Blues. And the one-loss Capitals. That is not an excuse, this is still supposed to be the best team in the league. But through 4 games, they have been thoroughly outplayed both at home and on the road.

Despite having Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog back, this Avalanche squad is still down Valeri Nichushkin and Devon Teows. Those are two underrated keys to this roster. Nichushkin gives you size and scoring ability. Toews brought another speed and scoring element to the roster. The good news is Friday Toews was removed from the injury report. Which means he should play Saturday.

Outside of PP%, these teams are almost identical to start. Look at this team comparison courtesy of Yahoo! Sports:

This should be a game where the Avalanche can get back right against a team experiencing similar struggles. But it could just be a continuance of their recent ineptitude. I like to stay on the positive side of things as much as possible. So I will take the improved physical play, and better goaltending as a sign for better things to come.

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Final Prediction:

Colorado 3 – Tampa Bay 2

Key Players:

MacKinnon/Landeskog: For this team to get back on track, the Mack Attack and Captain must step up and show why they are 2 of the best in the business. They need to show Sakic picking Landy over Grub was the right move.

Devon Toews: If he is fully healthy and can play. Can him and the top line reignite the magic they created after the trade last year?

Darcy Kuemper: Can the vet rebound to his game 1 form after a night off?

Key Stats:


Just like last game, this is Mack/Landy goals combined through 4 games. This must change Saturday.

Hits/Face Off Battle

In the only game the Avs won both (Game 1) they won the game. It seems if they outmuscle at the point, they win at the net. Then the game.

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Colorado Avalanche Look to Break Panthers Streak

The Colorado Avalanche have looked lackluster in their last 2 games after an opening night throttling of the Blackhawks. Despite scoring 10 goals in 3 games, they sit at just 1-2.

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The Colorado Avalanche came into the season with all the expectations. The Florida Panthers are trying to show they belong in that convo while reeling off 3 straight wins to start the season. This is the first of 2 stops in Florida to complete this 3-game road trip. The Panthers have actually scored 14 goals in their 3 games. The difference comes in the defense and goaltending as the Panthers have only allowed 6 goals in their 4 games, to the Avalanches 13 GA in their 3 games.

I really thought Nathan Mackinnon returning to the roster would give it more of a jolt than it did in their 6-3 loss to the Capitals. Hopefully having both Mack and Landy back for this one will provide that jolt. The loss of Jack Johnson to COVID protocols hurts, but having the Captain back should offset some of that pain.

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As much as I love J.T. Compher, no team wins consistently with him as their leading goal scorer. Which is currently where he rests on this Colorado Avalanche squad with 2. One thing these teams have in common is an inability to score on the Power Play with the Avalanche sitting at 9.1% and Panthers at 10%. The 5 on 5 is where these 2 teams shine, Florida more than Colorado to this point.

I am not of the ilk that is ready to panic after a 1-2 start. And much has been made about the play of Darcy Kuemper, who has looked outmatched at times against the Blues and Capitals. But I believe it’s more a team issue, than a goalie issue. Time after time against the Blues and Capitals Kuemper was left out to dry by poor defensive zone discipline and defensive effort/discipline. So I’m not ready to pull the cord on Darcy either. Way too small of a sample size to gain any meaningful information yet. If this becomes a consistent problem over the next week or so, then you can start pondering trades. But for a goalie, not a Jack Eichel, Eichel is a luxury, goalie may be a necessity.

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Key Stats


That is Darcy Kuemper’s career save percentage. In the one game Kuemper had a .900+ save percentage the Avs won.


That’s how many goals Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon have combined. This must change and quickly for the Avs to get to their winning ways, sample size be damned.

Key Players

Gabriel Landeskog/Nathan Mackinnon: As these 2 go, this team goes.

Bo Byram/Cale Makar: Can the 2 young guns replace the physical play of Jack Johnson?