Colorado Avalanche Might Have the Worst NHL Power Play

BUFFALO, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Robin Lehner
BUFFALO, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Robin Lehner /

The Colorado Avalanche have struggled on the power play all season, but the problems are magnified in the absence of Nathan MacKinnon.

The Colorado Avalanche are actually middle of the pack, number 18, in the NHL for their power play. However, when you watch them perform like they did last night, you start to feel like Colorado might have the worst power play in the NHL.

Here is a statistic that came about in the middle of last night’s game against the Buffalo Sabres:

Now, this statistic came about before Tyson Jost‘s goal. However, let that sink in. Before Jost’s third-period tally, the Avalanche hadn’t scored a power play goal in 17 opportunities but had allowed two short-handed goals — both in Buffalo, actually.

And here’s the result of that:

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Does it make you feel any better to know that the New Jersey Devils also allowed two shorties? No, it doesn’t make me feel any better either.

Anyway, it’s not too hard to identify why the Avalanche’s power play — and offense in general — has had a hitch in its step. The answer is Nathan MacKinnon, specifically that the Avalanche’s All Star forward has been out since January 30 with a shoulder injury.

Since then, the Avalanche have played .500 hockey, but it’s been a struggle. They’ve scored 14 goals in six games, but only the one was on the power play.

Before the conclusion of last night’s game, here are some “interesting” — RE: alarming — statistics:

So, in 49 games with MacKinnon, Colorado had 29.9 shots per game, 3.27 goals per game, and a power play at 20.3%. In five games without MacKinnon, they had 26 shots per game, 1.8 goals per game, and a power play at 7.1%.

I’m going to do some math to account for last night’s game and update the stats. I apologize in advance if my figures are off because… English major. I come up with 26.5 shots per game and 2.3 goals per game. The power play improves by a couple percentage points.

So, returning to the statistic that the Avalanche were number 18 in the NHL with their power play, that was mostly with MacKinnon playing. Without Nate, they’re dead last. And leading over Philadelphia, New York Isles and Buffalo in short-handed goals against.

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Even with Nathan MacKinnon in the lineup, the Colorado Avalanche weren’t great on the power play. If they have a system for the man-advantage, it’s been little in evidence this season, especially on the road. The Avs need to devise a solid power play system — and execute it.

On a positive note, it was reported last night during the post game show that MacKinnon has been skating (which we knew) and might (fingers crossed) might return to action on Wednesday. That date would mark exactly two weeks since his injury — his prognosis was to be out two to four weeks.