The Colorado Avalanche travelled to Nashville to take on a Predators team that had won 11 straight in the series. Colorado won 3-2.
Another two goals for the Colorado Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon?
Mikko Rantanen? Two assists, ho-hum.
I saw a commenter say something about “yeah, top line but they don’t play no defense or win in the playoffs” and it struck me how negative supposed fans of a franchise can be. In local fans’ eyes, there’s not a coach that isn’t on the hot seat and the only thing that they trust in is the almighty John Elway.
It gets disheartening to watch, considering the production of this Avalanche team. Tuesday night’s calm, methodical takedown of a Predators team that can be viewed as a Colorado nemesis was incredibly entertaining and reminded me of days-gone-by when the Avalanche always rose to the occasion. The Avs were the team everyone measured themselves against.
For now, in the Central division, the Predators are that team and the Avalanche measured well on Tuesday night.
Semyon Varlamov stopped 36 of the 38 shots he faced and was stout when Nashville ramped up the pressure. The top line continued their other-worldly play with the above mentioned two goals and four points. MacKinnon and Rantanen remain 1-2 in the scoring rankings, Mac’s two goals moved him within two of the league lead.
The big boys were big, as usual but the winner came from Tyson Jost:
That sweet wrister took the Avalanche from honorable mention to contender. Winning against a team that had dominated you for years in their building feels like a coming-out.
The Avs are just getting stronger and have moved within three points of the Western Conference lead. The goal now is not just to make the playoffs but to garner some home-ice advantage and make some noise. Tuesday night’s game can be seen as preview to what is possible for this squad.
Of course, they will have to navigate the inevitable injuries to come. Notably, Varly has struggled to make it through a complete season without injury. If one of the top line falls, the whole landscape of this Avs season changes.
There’s also the Avs penchant for going into inexplicable funks. We saw it briefly in early November, just have to cross our fingers that it doesn’t resurface.
That’s about all the negative we can muster, the things that could bring this team down. What we’re seeing instead is the emergence of a legitimate contender.