Colorado Avalanche: Surging Toward Playoffs

Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Since we declared the Colorado Avalanche on life-support and last Friday’s Anaheim game a must-win, the Avs have gone on a run.

It’s been a week since we dismissed the Colorado Avalanche’s playoff aspirations.  We declared that they had to win against the Anaheim Ducks, with far more difficult games after that one, to have a shot.

What do we know……

After losing that game to the Ducks 5-3, it looked as if there was little life left in this season but the Avs responded by going on a tear.

Fueled by resurgent Philipp Grubauer, Colorado reeled off wins against the New Jersey Devils (3-0), the Minnesota Wild (3-1), the Dallas Stars (3-1) and the Chicago Blackhawks (4-2) before dropping an OT game (2-1) to the same Blackhawks, in Chicago.  The string has Colorado, with 81 points, holding the final Wild Card spot entering Wednesday night’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights (8PM MST, Pepsi Center, Altitude and Altitude NOW).

Vegas comes in hot, going 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and with a chip on their shoulder trying to prove last year’s Cup finals was not a fluke. Colorado, fueled by their run over the last week, is 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.

The Golden Knight’s two losses in that 10-game span are their last two games.  Top goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been sidelined and is still listed day-to-day.

For Colorado, captain Gabriel Landeskog and winger Vladislav Kamenev remain out, Mikko Rantanen is also listed day-to-day but did not practice and will not play in Wednesday’s game.

Colorado will have to rely on the formula that’s carried them to the verge of a playoff berth, strong goaltending and strong performance from their top line.  Carl Soderberg, with 22 goals is perhaps the Avs most valuable offensive player right now, particularly with Landeskog and Rantanen out.  It would be fantastic to see some punch from guys like Alexander Kerfoot, Colin Wilson or even a blueliner like Tyson Barrie.  Scoring from unexpected or underperforming avenues are key to an Avalanche postseason berth.

We’ll have to spend some time looking at what we can expect from Colorado should they make the playoffs but let’s make sure they actually make the dance before we critique their style.  This is an all-important time for coach Jared Bednar and GM Joe Sakic, another disappointing season may not bode well for the pair.