Avalanche sliding?

It is becoming painfully clear that after a torrid 10-1-2 start, the Colorado Avalanche have come back down to earth. Since the hot start the Avs have turned in a 4-6-1 record, likely a little more appropriate of a team that was picked by many experts to finish in the Western Conference cellar for a second consecutive season.

Despite the recent struggles, the Avalanche continues to hold on to first place in the Northwest Division, two points ahead of Calgary which has two games in hand. Don’t expect that to be the case for much longer if the Avs’ current trends continue. Particularly alarming has been the Avs play in the third periods of their last seven losses. Consider this statistic: the Avs have been outscored 15-4 in the third period of their last six losses. This doesn’t include their last game against Philadelphia, a game which the Avs barely squeaked out despite having a 5-2 lead going into the third. In fact, if you look back over the last three third periods, the Avs have been outscored by an embarrassing 9-0 and gone 1-2. With performances like that, it is easy to see why the Avalanche are struggling to win games lately.

The defense has been a little hobbled of late with Adam Foote having missed the last three games. John Michael Liles is working his way back into the line-up after a shoulder injury. Foote is expected to return soon and his presence is sure to help turn around the third period woes that have helped make goalie Craig Anderson look human again.

The Avalanche finish a brief two game home-stand on November 25 against a hot Nashville Predators team that has won six in a row. The Avs have to address their third period play or else expect more of the same, and no W.

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