Fighting off a slump, the Colorado Avalanche tally three goals in the third period to beat the Panthers 5-2 and pull even in the Western Conference.
Can we take a moment to admire what road warriors the local teams have been so far this year? The Colorado Avalanche are 11-5-2 on the road this season, a far cry from their dismal road record even last season (15-19-7). It’s a big part of the reason the Avs are tied with the Nashville Predators for the lead in the Western Conference at 39 points.
On Thursday night in Sunrise, the Avalanche fought to a two goal tie entering the third period then blew it open with a three-goal surge in the third including two goals in a 44-second span. Mikko Rantanen opened the scoring with a first period redirect on a Patrik Nemeth shot. J.T. Compher put the Avs ahead with another redirect of a Gabriel Landeskog shot.
Again, the Avalanche’s top line was heavily involved in the outcome of the game, netting four points for the contest. It’s been a constant this season and the Avalanche are riding the best line in hockey to a season that’s full of possibilities.
In net, the Avs Philipp Grubauer had another solid performance, stopping 33 of the 35 shots he faced and protecting the lead in the third. It’s another consistent aspect of the Avs’ revival, goaltending has been outstanding. and has carried the Avalanche defensive effort on some nights.
With the Predators losing to Vancouver on Thursday night, Colorado edged into a tie for both the division and conference leads. While they remain in the hunt for the President’s trophy, the Tampa Bay Lightning are proving to be tough to catch, extending their league lead to six points.
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The Avalanche are in perfect postseason position but it’s not out of line to expect more considering what we have a pretty solid body of work to rely on at this point. Like the Nuggets, the Avs renaissance has come internally with players taking more responsibility for things like road wins. Those type of turnarounds are rarely flukey and owe to coaching and organizational confidence.
Colorado has a healthy dose of both at the moment, it will be a fun ride to the playoffs!