Is it too little, too late for the Colorado Avalanche?

avalanche_varlamov

As the Colorado Avalanche venture through the second half of the 2014-2015 season, their playoff hopes continue to diminish. The Colorado Avalanche came into this season with a chip on their shoulder; a chip that no longer exists. After finishing 2nd in the Western Conference during the 2013-2014 season, the Avalanche made an early exit during the first round of the playoffs. This set the tone for the occurring 2014-2015 season.  After 44 games of play, the Avs occupy the 11th seed in the Western Conference with a staggering low of 45 points.

Their inability to close out games is a big factor as to why the Avalanche are not in the playoff hunt. The Avalanche have already lost 9 of their last 44 games during overtime and shootout losses. These 9 overtime/shootout losses are more than the Avalanche totaled all of last season (8). This amount is tied for 2nd worst amongst the entire NHL. If the Avalanche won just four of these overtime games, they would be tied for 8th in the Western Conference. This slow start can also be contributed to poor defense. As Semyon Varlamov battled injuries during the beginning of the season, the weight of the team was put on the shoulders of Reto Berra. Berra posted a record of 2-2-1 with a .882 save percentage through 5 games this season. Although Berra has shown traits of being an outstanding goaltender, he lacks consistency required of a top tier goaltender. Roy made the decision to bring up Calvin Pickard from the Avalanche affiliate team, the Lake Erie Monsters. Pickard has exceeded his expectations during his short tenure in the NHL. With a 6-6-3 record, Pickard is the NHL leader in save percentage with a .936. These numbers should not represent a team that is 11th place in the Western Conference. The Avalanche are currently 2nd to last in shots against per game. They are averaging 34.5 shots against through 44 games this season. This is one of the biggest reasons as to why the Avalanche are not in the playoff hunt. The combined +/- of all the Colorado Avalanche defensemen is -19, a number that is not likely to win many hockey games.

There is still hope for Avalanche fans. The Avalanche have hit a stride during their past 16 games as they have posted a record of 9-4-3 during that time. Lets hope Patrick Roy has some more magic up his sleeve for the Avalanche as we head into the 2nd half of the season.

ZachRosenberg

Aspiring 19-year-old journalist based out of Littleton, Colorado.

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