Nov 3, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) celebrates his goal in the third period against the Calgary Flames at Pepsi Center. The Avalanche defeated the Flames 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
It’s tough to win road games because the home coach has the final line change. That means he gets the match-ups he wants on the ice. Plus, the crowds can play a factor.
One equalizer for a road trip is special teams.
Currently the Colorado Avalanche ranks 13th in power plays with a respectable 18.6% conversion rate. Weirdly, the Avalanche are also rank 13th for penalty kill with an 81.6% success rate.
A big problem has been getting both specialty teams working within the same game, along with even-strength play. The Avalanche have 11 power play goals and a short-handed goal — they’ll need more of both.
Also, they need to just stay out of the penalty box. Colorado is ninth in the NHL for penalty minutes with 147, and, yes about half of those belong to Cody McLeod. (Ok, not quite, but you get the point.) Penalty killing is a whole lot easier when you don’t have to do it.
The Colorado Avalanche road trip depends on special teams getting special.
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