Oct 18, 2013, 4:58 PM EST
The Colorado Avalanche finally lost last night, falling 4-2 to Detroit in a game that was most notable for the suspension-worthy hit from behind on Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall by Cody McLeod.
If not for the Kronwall injury, there probably would have been more talk about the Avs putting 40 shots on Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who made 38 saves for his third outstanding performance in four nights. Because if not for Gustavsson, the 6-1-0 Avs may still be undefeated.
So what’s been the key to Colorado’s improved play compared to last season when it was one of the NHL’s worst teams?
Forward Matt Duchene points to the Avs’ aggressive attacking attitude under new head coach Patrick Roy.
“That’s one thing we’ve all talked about in our room the last four years,” Duchene said, per Yahoo! Sports. “Not to knock anybody or anything, but I don’t feel like we’ve played the way that our team is built. I think we’ve played a little bit too stingy and slow, or tried to play that way, and it wasn’t in our makeup, and it backfired, I think. I think we need to play a style like Chicago. We’re built like a Chicago.”
By that, Duchene means the Avs are more of a skill team up front than, say, the Los Angeles Kings or Boston Bruins, two recent Stanley Cup winners who rely more on big, physical forwards than Chicago does.
All that said, one caveat that should be noted about Colorado’s early-season success is the fact they’ve relied heavily on their goaltenders, Semyon Varlamov and Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who’ve combined for a league-best .958 team save percentage.
History suggests that sort of save percentage is unsustainable, meaning the Avs might need to tone down the running and gunning and take better care of the puck. Because at the risk of criticizing a team that’s only lost once, Colorado is also surrendering 34.3 shots per game, tied for the fourth most in the NHL. And consistently allowing a lot of shots is most definitely not how Chicago plays.
Nov 27, 2014, 7:30 PM EST
Struggled in the American Hockey League this season.
Nov 27, 2014, 6:30 PM EST
Expected to formally announce his retirement next Thursday morning.
Nov 27, 2014, 5:15 PM EST
Talented center would be a prized pickup at the deadline.
Nov 27, 2014, 4:00 PM EST
Patrick Roy doesn’t own part of a junior team anymore.
Nov 27, 2014, 2:41 PM EST
Incident occurred during Wednesday’s Jets-Sabres game.
Nov 27, 2014, 2:27 PM EST
Linden Vey gets back into the lineup for tomorrow’s game in Columbus.
Nov 27, 2014, 2:12 PM EST
Dallas forward has history as a repeat offender.
Nov 27, 2014, 2:03 PM EST
That’s a picture of Shawn Thornton, who doesn’t play for them anymore.
Nov 27, 2014, 1:59 PM EST
Just two goals in 20 games this year.
Nov 27, 2014, 1:16 PM EST
Devils currently sit 12th in the Eastern Conference.
Nov 27, 2014, 12:29 PM EST
Played in 14 games over parts of the last three seasons.
Nov 27, 2014, 12:17 PM EST
Following Tuesday’s “mind-numbing” change in Dallas.
Nov 27, 2014, 12:02 PM EST
Big boost for Nashville, who hosts Edmonton tonight.
Nov 27, 2014, 11:44 AM EST
That’s the feeling, at least.
Nov 27, 2014, 11:18 AM EST
Florida’s No. 1 left Wednesday’s game early.
Nov 27, 2014, 11:10 AM EST
Nov 27, 2014, 11:10 AM EST
Center had a career-high 18 goals and 39 points last year.
Nov 27, 2014, 10:59 AM EST
Not listed: glorious gluttony.
Nov 27, 2014, 9:58 AM EST
“It’s pretty easy to see things slipping away,” Steve Mason said.
Nov 27, 2014, 9:26 AM EST
The hit generated a five-minute major and game misconduct.
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