Colorado Avalanche Are Victims of Poor Discipline

The Colorado Avalanche have now lost six out of their last eight games, and poor discipline continues to be the main contributor to their lack of success.

It’s getting pretty hard to watch the Colorado Avalanche right now. Losses seem almost guaranteed on a night-to-night basis. And, it’s almost as if the Avs are willing to play hard until they lose the lead, then they’ll just let the goals pile on.

Here’s some rather sobering facts:

  • In the last eight games the Colorado Avalanche have scored a total of ten goals.
  • During that span, they have given up 26 goals.
  • They have also taken 31 penalties. Luckily, they’ve only allowed four goals on those opportunites. The penalty kill is one bright spot through the course of this dismal streak.

And, most importantly of all, the Colorado Avalanche have given up an insane amount of odd-man rushes this season. I have no way to total that number, but here’s what Jared Bednar said after the game against the Arizona Coyotes:

First period, I think we gave up five [odd-man rushes]. You know, we kind of have a motto, ‘We’ll give you one per period.’ Three. We try to be under four per game. We gave up five in the first period. The one to start the third, we were killing a penalty. We just made a poor decision, dive outside and they just execute the play and it’s in the back of our net. It was just a bad read. Most of them are bad reads.

The odd-man rushes were prevalent against the St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks as well. They were even noticeable in the first game against the Dallas Stars. In other words, there are most certainly some defensive breakdowns that need to be dealt with.

How to deal with the odd-man rushes

I don’t want to use a clip of the third period goal the Coyotes scored as an example because the Avs were on the penalty kill. So, here’s a good 5-on-5 example from the Dallas Stars game:

The Avs are down 1-0 at this point, so it makes sense that they would want to be aggressive. However, there are already two players on the boards trying to keep the puck in deep when Francois Beauchemin decides to pinch.

He should most definitely be near the boards on that side, but should probably be closer to the red line, not right on the blue line. Then, when he realizes the puck has made it past him, instead of skating to get in position, he makes a weak push at the puck.

Granted, this all took place in the first game, so there were inevitably going to be some mistakes made with the new system.

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However — even though it was a power play opportunity — the same thing happened in the game against the Coyotes. Erik Johnson tried to pinch at the red line to keep the puck in the neutral zone, and the Coyotes made an easy pass by him for the 2-1 opportunity.

The odd-man rushes are being caused by bad pinches from the defensemen. They are just being aggressive at the wrong times.

However, the Avs have also had poor discipline with penalties.

The Avs are Taking Penalties at the Wrong Time

Teams are going to inevitably take penalties, that’s just part of the game. And the speed of the game currently just increases the likelihood for penalties. However, the Avs are taking those penalties at the wrong time.

They have a ridiculous amount of penalties taken in the offensive zone, or at the back-end of a play. And, they’re also taking them at times when momentum is very important.

Penalties in the offensive zone are obviously a result of poor discipline because those penalties should rarely happen. Furthermore, teams should never take a penalty after just scoring a goal of their own.

That happened against the Blues with Patrick Wiercioch’s penalty just a few minutes after Matt Duchene had scored to get the Avs within one goal.

And, the Avs took a bad penalty in the offensive zone against the Coyotes at the end of the second period on Tuesday night. The Coyotes carried that penalty over into the third period and were able to take a commanding 4-2 lead with a goal on that power play.

Something is going to give eventually. Either the Avs will figure out how to play with more discipline, or the free-fall will ensue.

Conclusion

Odd-man rushes and poorly timed penalties are not the only things hindering the Avalanche right now, but they are certainly large contributors. However, the Avs are finding it extremely difficult to score goals right now, so that needs to be taken into account as well.

It’s not time to panic yet. However, with a sub-par record at home, some obvious defensive issues and a difficult division to contend with, you hope the Avs get something going soon.

That begins on Friday night against the Winnipeg Jets at 7:00 pm MST. The Avs will be playing in the second game of their four-game home stand, and they need to get something going on home ice.

I honestly don’t think the Avs are too far away from putting it all together. But, if that doesn’t happen soon, then I imagine some trades will be on the way. Placing John Mitchell on waivers could have been the beginning to those trade speculations. However, that’s a post for another place, and another time.

That’s all for today folks, thank you for stopping by.

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