08 January 2011
ABD's 3 Stars:
1. Matt Duchene - After a fairly lackluster first 20 games, Matty was far and away the Avs best player over this 20 game stretch. Not only did he led the team in both goals (13) and points (23), he had 6 more goals and 7 more points than the next closet player of the team.
2. Kevin Shattenkirk - Ok, he's certainly cooled off recently, but the 2007 1st round pick paid his first dividends over these 20 games. Over this stretch, he outscored John Michael Liles in all areas - goals (+1), assists (+3) and points (+4) - 'nuff said.
3. Ryan O'Byrne - Who knows what kind of player Michael Bournival will turn out to be, but the Avs have to be happy with the deal with Montreal, at least so far. O'Byrne has just done his job - a stay at home defenseman who has simply been solid. He's plus 7 tied for the team lead over these 20 games.
Honorable Mention: Winnik, Wilson
1. Matt Hunwick - The similarities between Matt Hunwick and Games 1-20 goat Kyle Cumiskey are truly remarkable - both are extremely speedy, but extremely small Dmen who have a major tendancy to get physically overwhelmed and frequently panic with the puck in their own zone. Hell, Hunwick is even wearing Cumiskey's old number - #48. The afforementioned Ryan O'Byrne outscored Hunwick 3 points to 2, which might not sound all that impressive until you consider that Hunwick got PP time nearly every game.
2. Brandon Yip - Yipper was really off of his game over this 20. Despite all of the team's injuries, Yip still managed to be a healthy scratch 3 times and was a minus 7. The good news is game 41 (vs PHX) saw Brandon play his best game in a long time, so hopefully we can get off this list next time around.
Most surprising thing:
The return of Craig Anderson hasn't resulted in more wins. Over games 1-20, the Avs gathered 25 points - Andy played in 8 games. Over games 21-41, Andy played in 14 games and the Avs only earned 22 points. On paper, that tells me that Chris Stewart is a more important player to this year's team than Anderson is. However, if Andy can find his game over the 2nd half of the season and play like we know he can, that statement will look really silly in a couple of months.
Most expected thing:
Duchene steps up when the team needs it. When Chris Stewart was hurt broke his hand on Kyle Brodizak's face, he was the team's leading goal scorer. Matt Duchene had yet to find goal scoring touch - only scoring 3 goals over the first 20 games. Matty put his team on his back and put the puck in the net - scoring 13 goals. Without his goal production, you'd have to believe this stretch would have been disastrous for the Avalanche.
Standings: 2nd in NW division, 7th in Western Conference
Points: 22 (of 42) (-3 pts)
Average points per game: 1.04* (-0.21)
Projected season points total: 94 (-8.5)
*As a baseline – last year San Jose (1st in Western Conference) averaged 1.39 points a game and Colorado (8th in Western Conference) averaged 1.16 points a game – anything above 1.20 is going to get you into the playoffs.
Home record: 5-4-2
Points: 12 (of 22)
Average points per game: 1.09 (-.11)
Road record: 4-4-2
Points: 10 (of 20)
Average points per game: 1.00 (-.30)
Goal differential: -8 (Avs: 64 - Opponents: 70) (-20)
*includes goals awarded for winning a shootout
Power Play: 23.1%, 8th in the NHL (Even)
Penalty Kill: 78.4%, 25th in the NHL (+1 spot)
OT Record: 2-4
Shootout Record: 1-0
1. Matt Duchene - 23
2. Paul Statsny - 16
3. Tomas Fleischmann - 16
1. Matt Duchene - 13
2. Paul Stastny - 7
3. Tomas Fleischmann - 7
1. Kevin Shattenkirk - 11
2. Matt Duchene - 10
3. Paul Stasnty / Tomas Fleischmann - 9
Plus / Minus:
Plus leader: Ryan O'Byrne / Daniel Winnik (7)
Minus leader: Matt Hunwick / David Jones / Brandon Yip (-7)
Anderson - 14 games, 7-5-2, .908, 3.12
Budaj - 7 games, 2-3-2, .897, 3.54
After game 20, the Avs were in 1st place in the Northwest Division. They are now 12 points behind the Canucks - hats off to Vancouver for playing some fantastic hockey, but the Avs certainly would have liked to have kept better pace. Now, it looks like they'll be in a dog fight with 10 teams for 5 playoff spots over the 2nd half of the season. Hopefully, the return of Chris Stewart will help give the team the kind of offense bump they'll need to grab ahold of a playoff spot.
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