Avalanche’s Offensive Stats On the Rise

Through 17 games of the 2023-24 NHL season, the Colorado Avalanche are 11-6-0 and starting to look like the offensive juggernaut they are, scoring 22 goals while allowing 10 in their past four games. They were especially dynamic during an impressive comeback against the Dallas Stars, which saw the Avalanche score six unanswered and four times in the third period.

Even though we are only reaching the 20 percent mark of the season, many offensive stats are trending in a steadily upward direction from the beginning of the season to now, and with how the team is scoring, they don’t seem set to trend downward anytime soon. Here are some key stats that have been noticeable since the beginning of the season.

Avalanche Producing From Top to Bottom

Currently, the Avalanche are ranked third in the NHL this season in goals at 3.81 goals per game. Many could assume that would be the presence of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Cale Makar, and that would be correct, but other lines are producing, too, and helping the team with these scoring numbers.

Valeri Nichushkin-Nathan MacKinnon-Mikko Rantanen

  • 60.00 Corsi-for percentage (CF%)
  • 5.47 expected goals-for percentage (xGF%)
  • 60.76 scoring chances-for percentage (SCF%)

While Valeri Nichushkin saw time on and off the top line when Artturi Lehkonen was healthy, he is now back in that top role as Lehkonen got hurt and is out with a head injury. Nichushkin has been capitalizing in his return to the top line, recording five goals and seven points in the last five games and fitting right in place with MacKinnon and Rantanen with little to no error.

Valeri Nichushkin Colorado Avalanche
Valeri Nichushkin, Colorado Avalanche (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

It’s crystal clear the top line has been delivering outstanding results. However, the newly-constructed third line has some surprising numbers that are worth noting. These statistics could be a revelation for those who have been solely focusing on the top line’s success.

Miles Wood-Ross Colton-Logan O’Connor

  • 69.06 Corsi-for percentage (CF%)
  • 5.43 expected goals-for percentage (xGF%)
  • 71.08 scoring chances-for percentage (SCF%)

This new third line saw Logan O’Connor lined up with the newly-signed Miles Wood, who inked a 6-year, $15-million contract this past offseason. Ross Colton, who was recently acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning in a trade, was also added to this versatile third line. This line has performed well lately, scoring four goals and eight points in the last five games. Their offensive efforts have been commendable.

Related: 3 Avalanche Players Exceeding Expectations Early in 2023-24

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This third line has seen 76:49 in time on ice this season and is putting up similar advanced stats to the top line, which has seen 77:49. The numbers show the amount of work this line is getting and the production they’re generating. It should be recognized throughout this season for the opportunities it is creating.

Avalanche The Kings of the Third Period

Being given this title is a blessing and a curse with how the Avalanche have been playing this season thus far, and the numbers behind it prove it. As stated before, after the Avalanche came back from a three-goal deficit in Dallas and scored six unanswered and four goals in the third period, the team has scored 28 goals in the third and allowed just 15 for a plus-13 goal differential. At the same time, while they have been able to light it up the third period, it also shows why they have to score so many late in the game.

Cale Makar Colorado Avalanche
Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

They have been outscored 18-12 in the first period this season and getting off to hot starts have yet to be their forte. They have only lost one game this season when they came back from behind and took the lead, which came in a loss to the Nashville Predators on Nov. 23 when they blew a 3-1 lead in the third period. Once the team establishes itself offensively and defensively, it dominates games, proving its ability to improve over time. Still, the team needs to start games better going forward and thankfully, there’s plenty of time to get things fixed.

5v5 Dominance, Underwhelming Power Play

The Avalanche have been one of the best teams at five-on-five this season. They score an impressive 3.76 goals per game, which ranks third in the league. Additionally, they are tied for first place in the league for shots per game, averaging 34.0. The team also boasts a Corsi-for percentage of 56.6, which ranks third in the NHL, and are among the top teams in high-danger scoring chances, ranking fourth in the league with 57.6. With all this even-strength success and goal scoring, it’s shocking their power play ranks 20th in the league at 19.4 percent.

Related: Avalanche’s 2023-24 Start Reminiscent of Stanley Cup Season

It could be worse, like the Washington Capitals, whose power play is operating at just seven percent. Despite generating many scoring chances at five-on-five, the Avalanche’s power play percentage is not significantly higher despite being ranked sixth in power play opportunities with 67 chances. 

Just Early Season Nitpicks

As stated right at the beginning, all of these stats have been amassed over just a tiny sample of games to start the season, but do show areas where the team is succeeding and areas that need improving to be the best they can be. The stats will go up or down, but this sample shows the Avalanche are currently performing well in their area of expertise, which is scoring goals. However, if they aspire to become a better team, they need to focus on starting strong right from the opening faceoff.