The Colorado Avalanche are Sprinting Up the Standings

Don’t look now, but the Colorado Avalanche is in full swing. The Avs have picked up at least a point in eight straight games, putting them back at the top of the Central Division.

The Avalanche got off to a slow start in the 2021-2022 NHL season, going 4-5-1 in the first ten games. That left some fans baffled, considering Colorado is set to race 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 way the impression that the Avalanche had taken a step backwards.

In reality, however, the Avs have amassed a 20-3-2 record since Nov. 11 and have had one of the league’s best point averages for much of the season. The truth is that Colorado has been in top form for most of the season and the rankings are finally reflecting that.

The club’s current points streak was extended to eight games (7-0-1) on Saturday, the longest of its kind for the Avalanche this season. It’s also the third time they’ve compiled a points streak that reached at least six games. Additionally, Colorado has stringed together at least five straight wins three times a year.

The Avalanche have taken the top spot in the Western Conference.

With an overall score of 24-8-3, this team overcame every one of its division rivals to become number one in Central. Technically, the Predators have the same number of points (51) as the Avalanche, but Colorado is down four games. The Avs percentage of 0.729 points ranks third in the NHL and first among Western Conference clubs.

At the top of the Avalanche are six skaters who average over a point per game over the year. Forward Nazem Kadri leads the team in both assists (35) and points (49), Mikko Rantanen leads in goals (19), and Devon Toews leads plus-minus (plus-29) in the NHL.

Of course it doesn’t end there. Nathan MacKinnon is in the top five in the NHL in points per game (1.52) and Cale Makar leads all defenders in goals (16). No matter where you look, the Avalanche has contributors in all areas of the game, and some of them top NHL leaderboards in a variety of statistical categories.

The only negative thing about this team is that they struggled defensively at times as the penalty unit is at the bottom of the league and the goalkeepers were far from great. However, I would argue that this could actually be a positive thing for the Avalanche. If they’re playing this well with average goalie performance and an inefficient PK unit, I think most teams would be afraid to see how they would fare with improvements in those areas.

Hockey fans knew the Avalanche wasn’t going to stay away from a playoff spot or even a division lead for long. But whether you were aware of how well the Avs were playing or not, there’s no denying it now.

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