The Colorado Avalanche are back in action on Friday night welcoming the slumping St. Louis Blues to Pepsi Center.
The teams are on opposite trajectories, the Colorado Avalanche are the hottest team in hockey, their 34 points are just two off of the President’s trophy and one back of Nashville for Western Conference supremacy. St. Louis has struggled in the early going and sits at the bottom of the Central division with just 19 points.
It’s both a big drop for a Blues team that was chasing a cup two seasons ago and a huge rise for an Avalanche squad that had a historically bad 2016 campaign. The teams are truly opposites.
It will be nice to see old friend and Blues leading scorer Ryan O’Reilly back in the building. ROR was a fan favorite and fantastic producer in a different time for the Avalanche.
Colorado will look to build on the momentum they’ve generated with the five straight wins and will want to secure points in 10 straight.
That momentum has been built largely on the best line in the game. Mikko Rantanen leads the NHL in scoring, Nathan MacKinnon is second. Captain Gabriel Landeskog is top-25. Together they are putting up astronomical numbers and dominating in a way we haven’t seen in Colorado since the Sakic-Forsberg days.
In an up time in Colorado for sports, the Avalanche may be the best among the locals. Their November swoon was minimal compared to the Nuggets. The Broncos are on life-support though they’ve showed some fire recently.
The Avalanche are dominating and confident. If nothing else, we learned from the game in Nashville against the division-leading Predators that this Colorado team doesn’t wilt under the spotlight like their predecessors have. Criticism of last year’s team is hard to level considering where they came from but they were submissive in their first-round matchup.
This year’s version does not feel timid or submissive. It helps that uber-pest P.K. Subban was not available for Nashville, part of his game is that psychological component that previous Avs teams have been susceptible to. We get the feeling that his methods will be far less effective with this team than they were.
Expect Semyon Varlamov to get the start in net for Colorado.
There’s a lot of season left but if feels like we’ve just scratched the surface of this team’s capabilities.
Pepsi Center – Denver, CO 7:00pm MDT
TV: Altitude, Fox Sports Midwest
Radio: 92.5/950 Altitude, KMOX 1120
Tyson Barrie – questionable
St. Louis Blues:
Alexander Steen – questionable
Robert Bortuzzo – out