Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Avalanche face daunting road trip


The Colorado Avalanche is about to wrap up one of its best regular seasons in team history. Before the playoffs though, Colorado has a tough road trip to end the year.

The Avs sit two points ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for home ice in the playoffs but are only four points behind the St. Louis Blues for the top spot in the Central Division. That spot would guarantee the Avs home ice for two rounds and a chance to play one of the wild-card teams in the Western Conference.

But before Patrick Roy‘s team worries about the playoffs, they have work to do. A trip to play the Edmonton Oilers awaits Tuesday night followed by road games with the Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks. Both the Oilers and Canucks are eliminated from playoff contention but would love to spoil the Avs’ season. The Sharks and Ducks are still battling for playoff position and have plenty to play for. The Sharks and Avs are tied with 107 points while the Ducks sit three points ahead with 110.

The Avs would have to go on an amazing winning streak to catch the Blues. Winning all four of these games would be some of the best hockey the Avs have played this season. The main goal should be staying ahead of the Blackhawks. While Colorado has beaten Chicago four out of five times this season, the Blackhawks are a different animal in the playoffs. Avs need a little advantage against the defending Stanley Cup champs and home ice would give the  Avs some help.

The good news for the Avs is they have been stellar on the road this season. Colorado has the second most road wins with 24 in the NHL. The New York Rangers are the only team with more at 25. The Avs will play four games in six nights with a back-to-back in Vancouver and San Jose.

If the Avs can net five or six of the possible eight points in these four games, they can probably hold off the Blackhawks. That won’t be enough to catch the Blues but home ice will be achieved.

Colorado has big dreams in the playoffs but they need to finish business in the regular season. As the season has gone on, there really is no doubt Roy will have his guys ready to play.

Follow Chris Schmaedeke: @ChrisSchmaedeke

Tags: Colorado Avalanche Patrick Roy Stanley Cup Playoffs