Avs struggling to score

DEREK VAN DIEST

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

The Colorado Avalanche were scoring goals in bunches at the beginning of the season. They had plenty to go around.

But a few injuries, a couple of slumps, some bad luck and good opposition goaltending has seen the well gone dry.

Heading into last night's game against the Edmonton Oilers, the Avalanche had scored just three goals in their previous three games and only 11 in their past eight.

"Maybe at the beginning of the year we scored so many goals that we thought we could score that many every night," said Avalanche forward Ian Laperriere.

"You just maybe get away from the game plan a little bit because you want to score so many goals.

"But in our division and in our league right now, you can't expect to score five or six goals every night.

"We've been a little bit smarter defensively lately and that's the way we have to win some games."

The Avalanche have been without Joe Sakic for the last three games.

The future Hall-of-Famer, who's out with a bad back, had 12 points in his first 13 games.

Without Sakic in the lineup, they've struggled to get production from other sources.

Wojtek Wolski hasn't scored in 14 games, Tyler Arnason -- who always seems to score against the Oilers -- has one goal in the last 10 games and Ryan Smyth had one goal in nine games going into last night.

"We're in a bit of a funk," admitted Avalanche head coach Tony Granato. "But I think we're getting better defensively. We've made some improvement away from the puck.

"As far as goals go, sometimes you go through stretches where you score four or five goals every game.

"I think we still have balance up front, just some guys are not producing as much as they should right now."

Ironically, the Avalanche are getting better goaltending lately, which has allowed them to win two of their last three games heading into last night.

Early on they were scoring, but weren't getting the type of goaltending needed to win those shootouts.

"It's frustrating that we've been so inconsistent this year," Granato said.

"Hopefully we'll be back on the upside of things again.

"But considering where we are so far this season, record-wise, we're not out of it, and we know where we're going with it, so we're comfortable with the direction where we're going."


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