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Are the Avs about to get a reality check?

Nov 15, 2013, 11:20 AM EDT

Patrick Roy and Avs AP

It was going to happen at some point. The Colorado Avalanche weren’t going to play an entire season without losing back-to-back games. The question now is, how do they respond?

The Avs were beaten badly, 7-3, last night in St. Louis. They also lost, 2-1, on Tuesday in Carolina.

Tomorrow, Colorado hosts Florida, one of the worst teams in the NHL. But after the Panthers, it gets tough.

Really tough.

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For all the stories that have been written about the Avs being free to run and gun under new coach Patrick Roy, and that being a good thing, skeptics have maintained Colorado’s due for a reality check.

From Grantland’s Sean McIndoe:

Here’s the deal: While the Avalanche are clearly a much better team than most of us expected them to be, there’s also strong evidence their success has been heavily influenced by good luck that should even out.

Let’s start with that remarkable goaltending. To put it bluntly, it’s completely unsustainable. Unless you believe that the Avalanche will put up the best season of goaltending this era has seen (by far), their overall save percentage is going to drop, and probably drop sharply.

So while the Avalanche goalies may still end up being very good, they can’t possibly be this good. And chances are, neither can their shooters — the team’s 11.2 shooting percentage is also on the high side, ranking second in the NHL.

Even with a 14-4-0 record, there are some who would pick the Avs to miss the playoffs in the very tough Western Conference.

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This next stretch of games should be interesting.

  1. thailer35 - Nov 15, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    Either way, I can’t remember who said this yesterday on another article but they hit the nail on the head, the Avalanche are doing the rebuild the right way, and giving Oilers fans all that much more to be angry about with their own team. They may not be able to sustain their current success, but they are still a legitimate contender in the WC.

  2. polegojim - Nov 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    I’ve been looking forward to this reality check… not because I want the Avs to fail… but because I want to see what they need to do to play at a high level against the heavy weights.

    Many of us have said the TRUE gut check comes after a few losses…and the thrill of flying high is gone.

    They’ve reached ‘grind’ time, the true test of leadership, character, and skill for players…and the tested quality of coaching for Roy and company.

  3. endusersolutions2013 - Nov 15, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    They are also “unusual” among the top 10 in SOG/SOGA negative. And with Varlemov’s personal life issues, they could go from goaltending being their biggest strength to having a goltending challenge.

    Further problem is that the Central division is the toughest in the league. When I looked at all the teams in the WC at the start of the regular season, I concluded that the central division would go Hawks, Blues, Wild, then Aves and Stars contending for the 4th spot, and I see no reason why that would still not be the case.

    Dallas would be in 1st or a close 2nd if they were in the Metro and have been coming on. Benn and Seguin are clicking now, Lehtonen is playing well.

  4. captainpike57 - Nov 16, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    I started out believing the Avalanche team were a great contender but as I watched every game since the beginning I noticed the team wasn’t playing all that well. I rode off the loss to the Detroit Red Wings but the loss to Nashville at home apparently took the wind out of their sail so to speak. The game against Calgary was played poorly and then lose to Carolina and now St Louis I don’t think this team has the fight and the will with the rest of the Central Division to be contenders in this CW. I just don’t think they can acquire that fight to keep pace in the division, and I always said that you have to win those games in your own division and not to worry about losing to the Eastern or Pacific Division. In summary I have written this team off as contenders in the Central Division and maybe next year and also with key losses to players like Tanguay being out is definitely going to hurt them down the stretch of games they have to play.

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