The Colorado Avalanche remain in first in the Central Division, following a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. In their past six games, the club went 1-3-2. Prior to the current slump, the Avalanche already accumulated 15 wins in their first 21 games. If not for that strong start, they certainly wouldn’t still hold the top spot in their division. However, unless they turn things around quickly, the rest of the Western Conference has closed the gap and looks ready to leapfrog Colorado in the standings.

Factors Contributing to Current Colorado Avalanche Slump

While the team as a whole struggles, their biggest star continues to produce. Nathan MacKinnon extended his point streak to 11 games with a goal Saturday, his eleventh on the season. He leads the team with 37 points in 27 games, followed close behind by Cale Makar (seven goals, 34 points).

Obviously, those individual numbers mean far less than the team’s success as a whole. Despite nine points in the last six games for MacKinnon, the Avs only won once in that stretch. The team only produced five goals that didn’t feature a point contributed by MacKinnon. To break out of the slump, the Avalanche need more players finding the back of the net.

Sluggish Special Teams Performance

On the season as a whole, the Avs rank 20th on the power play (18.45%) and seventh on the penalty kill (85.26%). Having a penalty kill in the top ten looks solid, but with the talent they boast in their lineup, they certainly want to be far better on the power play.

More importantly, though, the Avalanche current slump has seen those numbers dip significantly. Over the last six games, they scored just two power play goals on 17 opportunities (11.76%). Even worse, their penalty kill allowed four goals on just 12 opportunities against (66.67%).

Considering two losses came in overtime, one more power play goal or another successful penalty kill could have changed things entirely. A 1-3-2 stretch versus a 3-3-0 stretch calls for drastically different responses.

Dried-Up Secondary Scoring

After a nine-game point streak of his own, Valeri Nichushkin hasn’t been pitching in offensively as much lately. An illness took him out of a couple of their recent games in the Avalanche’s current slump. But in his return to play, he’s struggled alongside the rest of the Avs forward group. This gets exacerbated by the fact that Colorado remains without Artturi Lehkonen, who had eight points in 12 games before his injury. He’s been out for over a month now, with weeks still ahead of him before he’ll be ready again for action.

Offseason acquisition Ryan Johansen contributed an assist against the Flyers Saturday, but that was just his second helper on the season. He has only produced eleven points overall through 27 games. Jonathan Drouin looks better of late, but that still hasn’t translated into consistent production. He only has eight points on the year himself.

For both Drouin and Johansen, their current scoring pace ranks far behind recent seasons. Considering they both came on discount deals to Colorado, due to dips in play on their previous teams respectively, it remains a bit of a concern that they haven’t found rhythm yet in Denver.

Inconsistent Goaltending Contributing to Avalanche Slump

Another glaring issue remains the inconsistent nature of the team’s goaltending position. Alexandar Georgiev still leads the league in starts but holds just a .900 save percentage. He puts in a quality start less than half of the time (.455%), yet still, the Avs seem unwilling to hand much of an opportunity to Ivan Prosvetov behind him.

Prosvetov’s numbers look marginally better (.906 save percentage) though he’s turned in more quality starts (.600%). That said, it hasn’t translated to a superior record; Prosvetov stands at 2-2-1 on the year, while Georgiev’s record looks great at 14-7-1. That win total also puts him first in the league, but just like the team as a whole, the Avalanche slump opened the door for everyone else to make up ground.

Perhaps the most concerning aspect is just how often the team’s goalies turn in a mathematically sub-par performance. In the team’s 27 games, their goalies fell below the .900 save percentage bar 15 times already. That means over half of the time, they cede goals on more than one in ten shots against. This puts the team’s overall save percentage at just .898, in the bottom half of the league.

Finding a Way Out of the Avalanche Slump

Thankfully for the Avs, their current struggles come from two distinct aspects that both look fixable in the long run. For the first chunk of their season, the goaltending still sat around the league average. Their offensive firepower made up for that and let the team pile up the wins.

Now, though, as the scoring declined to just 14 goals in their last six contests, the wins stopped coming easily. They allow 3.00 goals against per game on average over the season as a whole, but in their current slump, the Avalanche allowed 3.83 per game.

So, the goaltending still needs to improve. Some stronger team defence in front of them would certainly help as well. If Georgiev finds his rhythm, things look bound to turn around in short order. But simultaneously, the Avs need a boost on offence. That could come from their powerplay, for sure, or just some of their secondary forwards finding their game. This team remains a threat always, thanks to their elite superstars. But if they expect a deep run, they need contributions from elsewhere and a more complete team game overall.

Main Photo Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Akash Mahi, a dedicated enthusiast of the game, is a recognized expert in the domain of tennis balls. With a keen understanding of materials and aerodynamics, he has contributed to the evolution of tennis ball design, enhancing playability and performance. Mahi's expertise continues to impact both casual players and professionals alike.