Rick Sadowski: Forwards need to step it up

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So much for that three-game winning streak and 4-0-2 run the Avalanche took into the three-day Christmas break. Now they have to beat Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve just to avoid a three-game losing streak.

The Avalanche will play a three-game homestand against the Flyers, Edmonton and Columbus, all of which are out of the playoffs with the halfway point of the season fast approaching.

They’re all winnable games, but the Avalanche could just as easily drop all three (yes, even against the 7-22-7 Oilers).

Without mentioning names, coach Patrick Roy finally called out his top forwards for their meager offensive contributions after Monday’s dreadful 3-0 loss in St. Louis. The Avalanche managed 16 shots against goalie Martin Brodeur, matching the season low they had in the embarrassing 5-0 opening-night loss in Minnesota.

No, the Avalanche don’t have a bunch of Norris Trophy candidates on the roster, but I think the forwards have been getting too much of free pass since the season started.

“I like the way we’re playing defensively,” Roy said Tuesday. “I don’t think defense is a problem right now.”

This team scored 245 goals last season (discounting the five goals they were awarded in shootouts), an average of 2.99 goals per game. The Avalanche were shut out once, March 21 against Boston.

The Avalanche have scored 88 goals (not counting four awarded in shootouts) in 36 games this year, a 2.44 average. Keep that up and they’ll finish with 200. They’ve already been shut out six times and scored more than three goals just seven times (again, throwing out shootout “goals”).

The Avalanche have gone 8-6-8 in one-goal games. Last year’s record in one-goal games: 28-4-8.

They’ve been held to under 25 shots in 12 games and between 25 and 29 shots in 11 other games.

The Avalanche had off-ice workouts Tuesday after arriving early in the morning from St. Louis. After meeting with the players, Roy said he expects to see a “big difference” in the team’s offense Wednesday against the Flyers. And that isn’t going to happen simply because it looks like Borna Rendulic will be recalled from Lake Erie in the AHL, where he has four goals and four assists in 26 games.

Some of the following need to start scoring: Tyson Barrie — yes, a defenseman — has no goals in the past 11 games; Daniel Briere has one goal in 11 games; Matt Duchene has no goals in seven games and one goal in 10; Jarome Iginla has one goal in seven games; Gabriel Landeskog has no goals in 12 games; Nathan MacKinnon has one goal in 18 games; Ryan O’Reilly one goal in seven games.

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Brodeur on his 16-save shutout against the Avalanche: “It wasn’t the hardest game to play, but you’ll still got to make the saves out there.”

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Brodeur was the fifth-oldest goalie in NHL history at 42 years, 237 days to have a shutout. The other oldies-but-goodies: Jacques Plante (44), Johnny Bower (44), Dominik Hasek (43) and Lorne “Gump” Worsley (42). Follow @RickS7

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