The Colorado Avalanche fell on some hard times early on during the regular season, but find themselves in the thick of the playoff race as the season winds down. As of Wednesday night (Mar. 18), the Avalanche find themselves seven points back of the second wild-card, which currently belongs to the Winnipeg Jets. With just 13 games remaining, the Avs have some work to do.
Beginning Wednesday night, the Avalanche face a five-game road trip beginning in Glendale with the Arizona Coyotes. This will be the third and final meeting between the two Western Conference teams as Colorado won both match-ups 4-3 and 5-2 respectfully. The schedule only gets harder, however.
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After Arizona, Colorado will take on the Anaheim Ducks, followed by a trip up to Canada to take on the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks. The final stretch to close out the season is my only main concern. After three road games in California taking on the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, and Los Angeles Kings, the Avs face three Central Division teams in the Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, and Chicago Blackhawks – all at the Pepsi Center.
Colorado will have to scratch and claw to make the playoffs, especially with a little help to catch Winnipeg. Who knows, the game against the Jets on Apr. 9 could be a pivotal game.
Colorado has been on their A-game of late, winning five out of their last six. Their only loss came against the Los Angeles Kings at home Mar. 10th – a 5-2 loss. Colorado responded with two one-goal wins over the New Jersey Devils (2-1 SO), and Calgary Flames (3-2). The play of goaltender Seymon Varlamov has been key in Colorado’s success.
Varlamov, 26, has dealt with his fair share of groin injuries, but bounced back since returning after re-injuring his groin against the Minnesota Wild (Mar. 8). Over his last two games played (vs. Calgary/New Jersey), Varly has allowed just three goals, saving 52-of-55 total shots. Varlamov will have his work cut out for him the remainder of the season.
One other thing that can’t go unnoticed is the play of veteran winger Jarome Iginla – what a free-agent pick-up he was. Iginla was brought in to do exactly what he has been doing; score goals. The 37-year-old right-winger currently leads the Colorado Avalanche this season in both points and goals scored with 48 and 22 respectfully. Over Colorado’s last five games, Iginla failed to record a point in just one game; the 5-2 loss to the Kings.
All-in-all, the remaining 13 games for the Avalanche should be fun to watch, whether the team makes the playoffs or not.