To understand the mindset displayed in the Colorado Avalanche’s 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday, you have to go back to before Thursday’s 6-3 loss to the Rangers.
Although you may not entirely know what words were exchanged behind closed locker-room doors, Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy let the outside world in on a strategy formulated by the players for the remainder of the season.
“Before the game against the Rangers, [the players] gave themselves three objectives offensively that they wanted to do,” Roy said. “One of them was [have] 30 shots on net, the second one was possessing the puck more than the other team, and the third one was they wanted to move their feet in the offensive zone.”
The results in Thursday’s loss were as follows: 29 shots on goal and 15 minutes of possession in the offensive zone versus 11 in the Avs zone.
“I thought we moved our feet well,” Roy reflected. “If we could do that for 60 minutes I’m pretty confident that were going to win a lot of hockey games.”
Fast-forward to Saturday, where Roy’s confidence in winning by accomplishing the three objectives was a premonition. With 30 shots on goal and roughly more offensive-zone possession over Dallas, the Avalanche’s four-game losing streak was snapped, and the proof was in the pudding. The Avs met their objectives and secured a win, suggesting a correlation between the two.
“I thought it was a real solid team effort,” Roy said following the win. “That’s the type of game I was hoping to see us play. I was happy to see the team respond the way we did. It was an important game.”
Colorado right wing Jarome Iginla said this could be the beginning of some momentum.
“We know we need to put a real string together here, and before we can do that we had to get back on the winning side,” Iginla said. “It was a good game for us, guys played well, guys played hard, and we did a lot of things we wanted to do. We got 30 or however many shots, kept them lower. I’m sure we had more zone time. It’s a start.”
The recipe for success devised by the players themselves could be the key to their playoff push. The Avalanche has 26 regular season games left and will likely need 38 more points in order to lock down a spot.
“Ninety-five points, we think that’s going to be the number that it’s going to take to be part of the playoffs. It’s in our hands. We know that there’s going to be a lot of… ‘must games,’ and the time is now.”
The Avalanche will continue working on its three-objective strategy during the remaining two contests of this four-game homestand, beginning Monday against the Arizona Coyotes.
“Obviously, we’re going to have to show consistency every night,” said Roy. “I believe that if we do that we’ll be a lot tougher to play against that’s for sure. This is an objective we are going to try to do every game.”