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Colorado Avalanche season update: Hot and cold Avs still lead Central

The Colorado Avalanche have endured a bumpy road to their current Central division lead after coming out of the gates hot by starting the season 6-0-0.

They then lost five of their next seven games, before winning seven of their next eight, and have currently dropped four out of their last six. 

Hot and cold streaks aside, the Avs lead the Central division while they sit fourth in the Western Conference.

There is no cause for concern at this point for Avs fans at least as it pertains to making the playoffs - this team is all but a formality to reach the postseason. 

Could their occasional inconsistency be cause for concern once in the playoffs? Potentially. 

It was definitely a surprise to see Colorado get bounced in the first round by Seattle last year. But this group took that as a learning experience and is eyeing a deep run yet again.

Here is a glimpse at the 2023-24 Colorado Avalanche thus far.

Record:17-9-2 (36 points)
Point Percentage:.643 (9th in the NHL)
Standings:1st in the Central Division and fourth in the Western Conference

Key wins:

  • 10/11/23: 5-2 vs Los Angeles Kings
  • 11/18/23: 6-3 vs Dallas Stars
  • 11/22/23: 5-2 vs Vancouver Canucks
  • 12/11/23: 6-5 vs Calgary Flames

Key losses:

  • 11/4/23: 7-0 vs Vegas Golden Knights
  • 11/11/23: 8-2 vs St. Louis Blues
  • 12/7/23: 4-2 vs Winnipeg Jets
  • 12/9/23: 5-2 vs Philadelphia Flyers

Key Statistical Leaders

Goals

  • Mikko Rantanen: 13
  • Nathan MacKinnon: 12
  • Valeri Nichushkin: 10

Assists

  • Cale Makar: 28
  • Nathan MacKinnon: 27
  • Mikko Rantanen: 21

Points

  • Nathan MacKinnon: 39
  • Cale Makar: 36
  • Mikko Rantanen: 34

Plus-Minus

  • Cale Makar: +13
  • Andrew Cogliano: +7
  • Nathan MacKinnon, Logan O'Connor, Caleb Jones: +6

Power Play Goals

  • Valeri Nichushkin: 5
  • Ryan Johansen: 4
  • Cale Makar: 4
  • Mikko Rantanen: 3

Time On Ice

  • Cale Makar: 24:25
  • Devon Toews: 24:09
  • Nathan MacKinnon: 22:38

NHL Team Stat Rankings (out of 32)

Goals scored per game:5
Goals allowed per game:11
Goals scored 5 on 5:5
Goals allowed 5 on 5:16
Power Play Percentage:18
Penalty Kill Percentage:7
Faceoff Percentage:25
Shots on goal per game:10
Shots allowed per game:9
Save percentage:17

Top Performers:

There is no cause for concern regarding the Avalanche. They lead the Central division and are pushing at the top in the Western Conference. Their outlook is positive for the remainder of the regular season and going into the postseason in April.

The Avalanche have Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, and Mikko Rantanen. Any team with those guys on it is going to win games and have the potential for a deep playoff run.

This three-headed monster has combined for 101 points so far this season. 

After Rantanen’s team third-ranked 34 points, the next-closest Avs point producer has 23 points. 

There are a few other teams with very high-end players, with the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs obvious examples. 

But a combination of MacKinnon, Makar, and Rantanen can at the very least hang with any combination of top players from every other team in hockey, although it might just be the best. 

The Avalanche have a very real chance to make another run reminiscent of their Stanley Cup-winning 2022 season. 

With superstars of this caliber leading the way, Colorado cannot be counted out. Fans have a lot to be excited for as this season progresses and inevitably entering the playoffs in 2024.

Odds

To win Central Division:+135
To win Western Conference:+450
To win Stanley Cup:+1000

Verdict

As inconsistent as the Avalanche have been at the start of the season, there is no doubting the high-end talent that they have at their disposal.

Colorado were Stanley Cup winners just two seasons ago, and most will be expecting them to be a real contender when the playoffs roll round in April. Only four teams are shorter in the betting to win it all than the Avs, and that list may even shrink once Jared Bednar's men find their true rhythm.

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