So how is life — if any — in Colorado after Peter Forsberg? Well, through 16 hockey games, just fine.
The Avalanche sits third in the tight five-team Northwest Division, only two points behind co-leaders Vancouver and Calgary. In fact Colorado, as much as any franchise, exemplifies the upsurge of goals the NHL was hoping to see this year.
Colorado ranked third among the 30 NHL teams in goals scored with 65, three less than Detroit and four below Ottawa. The 9-5-2 record becomes more impressive considering that goalie David Aebisher ranks just 28th in the league with a 3.29 goals against average.
Aebisher has been in goal for all but two games, posting a very respectable 8-3 record. He has been the beneficiary of an Avalanche offense that has seen 10 of their last 12 games go OVER the posted goal total in the Las Vegas sports books.
With the defense struggling, why have the Avs gotten off to a strong start. The Pepsi Center, for one. Colorado is a solid 6-2-2 (although both overtime losses have come at home). Another is scoring balance. The Avs have tallied three goals or more in 14 of the 16 games and have not been shut out. Colorado has scored at least twice in all 16 outings.
Colorado’s scoring breakdown is quite astounding. No player ranks among the top 30 in either goals or scoring, yet the Avs have only been outscored by two other teams in the league. Eleven players have tallied at least 10 or more points. Top players Alex Tanguay (18 points ) and team captain Joe Sakic (15) rank among the first four. Tanguay is the scoring leader, followed by defenseman John-Michael Liles with 16. Then comes Sakic and right wing Marek Svatos with 14.
Right wing Ian Laperriere has been Colorado’s best two-way hockey with a +12 rating, meaning he has been on the ice for 12 more goals scored than his team has allowed.
This week, however, playing the money line with Colorado may not be a good betting play. The Avs will play three games in four nights before heading home to face Calgary on Monday. Colorado had lost twice this season to the Flames, who are in the midst of a five-game winning streak.
As for Forsberg, he is off to a solid start for the Philadelphia Flyers. Forsberg was tied with Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson for the league’s scoring lead with 28 points through 15 games.
Colorado is currently carries 8-1 odds at Caesars Palace to win the Stanley Cup, down slightly from a 6-1 opening line.
AVS THIS WEEK
(home games in CAPS)Date opponent series W/L
Nov. 16 at Phoenix 0-0
Nov. 18 at Anaheim 0-0
Nov. 19 at LA Kings 0-1
Nov. 21 CALGARY 1-1