3) Cracks In The Armor
Yesterday I read this piece by Sean McIndoe where he analyzed what has been going wrong for the Oilers and conversely what has been going right for the Avalanche (both teams came into the season with relatively similar expectations, but the Avalanche have been on of the West’s best teams while the Oilers have been its worst). One of the reasons McIndoe found for Colorado’s success was, they have been pretty luck so far. McIndoe points out that Colorado has been getting historically excellent goaltending play. Goaltending is notoriously streaky and chances are the combo of Semyon Varlamov and J.S. Giguere is not the best goaltending duo in NHL history. At some point their play will regress to the mean. McIndoe also points out that Colorado has a league high PDO of 1063 (anything above 1000 usually indicates a team is a bit lucky) meanwhile their possession numbers aren’t very good, possession being a strong indicator of sustained success.
What does that mean? It means that while sure, the Avalanche are a good team, they may not be as good as their early record indicates. We may already be experiencing the Avalanche starting their slide down the mountain. Colorado is currently in the midst of a two game losing streak, the first time they have lost two straight this season, and their strong goaltending evaporated in their lopsided 7-3 loss to the Blues on Thursday. Against the Blues, Varlamov and Giguere combined to allow seven goals on 29 shots, not exactly elite numbers.
Is this the beginning of troubles for Colorado? It is probably too early to say that but if the alarm bells are starting to softly chime now, they will rise to an ear splitting fever pitch if Colorado loses tonight to the Panthers.