Colorado Avalanche: Penguins No Match for Surging Avs

Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

When is the last time the Colorado Avalanche lost?  For that matter, when is the last time any Colorado professional sports franchise lost?

The Broncos are on a two-game streak, the Nuggets are on a four-game streak.  Local fans deserve a minute to crow, it’s not often lately we’ve enjoyed this kind of success.  Among the locals, the Colorado Avalanche may well be best positioned to compete for a championship.

This year.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are the latest victim in Colorado’s rise to the top, the Avalanche won 6-3 on Wednesday night.

If you’ve been living under a rock in Denver and are unaware of how special Mikko Rantanen is, please take a look at this goal. Rantanen defeats the entire city of Pittsburgh before triumphantly allowing Samuel Girard to walk into a gift wrapped goal.  Something like that.

It’s another day, another 8-point performance for the top line of Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon.  It’s no longer an argument whether they are the best line in the NHL, the only thing that’s going to derail their performance is injury.

It wasn’t perfect, the Penguins perennial star Sidney Crosby went on a 5-minute, three-goal tear, securing the hat trick and tying the score.

Colorado retaliated with goals from Landy and Mac, Carl Soderberg added an insurance tally to notch their fourth straight win and move within one point of the division and conference lead.  They are just two points out of the President’s Trophy race.

Philipp Grubauer stopped 22-of-25, the low shot total a testament to the Avalanche’s improved defensive stance.  Erik Johnson (2) and Colin Wilson (7) each had first period goals to stake the Avs to a 3-0 lead before Crosby’s surge.

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It’s an awakening from the Avalanche that’s been brewing for most of the early season.  They had some bumps in the road, it’s taken some time to work out the defensive pairings/order.   Ian Cole and Nikita Zadorov have alternated with Johnson and Patrick Nemeth as the top pairing and it’s worked well for Colorado. It’s allowed different guys to step-up every night.  Johnson was a plus-4 for the contest.

For the Colorado Avalanche, there’s a feeling that this is still a team on-the-rise.  There’s still more to come and that should scare the rest of the league.  Are we gushing?  You bet.