Things aren’t looking good for the Colorado Avalanche these days. They have lost three games in a row and five out of the last six, and they are having difficulties getting the puck into the net. Something a bit askew for a team ranked fourth in the NHL in terms of scoring goals.
There are many factors as to why the Avs are in a slump and why they can’t win any games lately. However, there is one key factor that is hindering the Avs from excelling to the expectations that are set by fans and the players; goaltending.
Last year, Craig Anderson was the staple for the Avs and was the key reason why this young team was able to slide into the playoffs. This year, his record is 13-13-3 with a .901 save percentage and a 3.15 goals per average. Last year, Anderson’s numbers were significantly lower, and it involved a season were the goaltender was starting in almost double the amount of games.
It is true that Anderson has been bothered by a groin and knee problem, but is it the reason why he is not as reliable as he was last season?
This season, Anderson is allowing in soft goals and making it difficult for the team to get things going when they have to fight to get back into the game. With always having to play catch-up, the Avs tend to lose focus on their style of play and end up playing to their opponent’s.
Peter Budaj isn’t as consistent as he was last year as well. This year, he has posted a record of 12-8-3, with a save percentage of .896 and a goals against average of 3.13. Just like Anderson, Budaj’s numbers aren’t as high as they were from last season, and he is letting in goal after goal, which again prevents the Avs from playing their style. Although Budaj does have a winning record, he is now in limbo with Anderson as to who is going to start the next game for the Avs.
One thing is for certain; the Avs have a major problem with their goalies and the numbers of games are getting less and less as the season moves along.
Whether it is Anderson or Budaj, one of these two goaltenders need to step up and become a leader on this team. The Avs are relying on these two to be cornerstones for success, but are turning out to be a major let-down.
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Written by Adam Lanning