Avalanche needs to improve shot quality or Coyotes will be live dogs

By Andy MacNeil  (VSiN.com) 

Despite a strong start and a + 69 shot attempt differential at 5-on-5, the Colorado Avalanche only has had one dominant performance on the score sheet. The reason for that seems to be pretty simple, outside of the first game where the Avs held a 7-2 advantage in high-danger shot attempts at 5-on-5, the Arizona Coyotes have been leading the charge, sacrificing quantity for quality, and it has given them life.

In the two meetings since the series opener, the Coyotes have held a 24-23 edge in high danger shot attempts, and own 60 percent of the goals that have been scored from the home plate area right in front of the net. Overall, the Avalanche own 53.5 percent of the high danger shot attempts at 5-on-5 (31-27) and 60 percent of the goals from that area, but considering the price tags that the team have been carrying, we should expect more out of them. 

Compared to other heavy round one favorites, the Avalanche just haven’t stacked up. The Tampa Bay Lightning own 63 percent of the high danger shot attempts in their series against the Columbus Blue Jackets. And over in the western conference, the Vegas Golden Knights have laid waste to the Chicago Blackhawks in terms of high danger shot attempts, holding a 37-17 (69 percent) advantage through four games. However, in a game like hockey, even if a team dominates their opponent where it matters most (on the shot clock and in the scoring chance department) they can still lose. Joonas Korpisalo and Corey Crawford both stole victories for their respective teams in round one despite being outshot and out-chanced by wide margins. 

In other words, the way that the Avalanche has played in the last two games just isn’t going to cut it. The Coyotes have two good goaltenders, so the Avalanche are going to have to establish themselves around the Coyotes net going forward, while also making it a lot tougher to get into the area where they are most vulnerable. Colorado is currently listed as a -180 favorite in Monday’s matchup. The Coyotes carry a + 160 underdog price tag. The total is set at 5.5 shaded heavily to the under at -140.

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