The last time the Avalanche played a home game was on January 24 against the Minnesota Wild. Tonight the Avs have déjà vu all over again as the Wild come lurking into Pepsi Center. Nine days ago the Wild snuck out of Denver with a 3-2 victory over Colorado, however the Avalanche look to have a different outcome tonight.
Colorado looks to establish some consistency tonight, by going with J.S. Giguere in net instead of Semyon Varlamov. As of late, it has been hit and miss with the net-minders. During the stretch the Avs put together in December, Varlamov seemed to be the goalie with the hot hand. Lately, though, Colorado has struggled with sporadic play from the entire club, not just the masked men.
Some people around Denver are calling this a “must-win” game for the Avs. Must we really talk about must-win games with more than 30 games left in the season? The Avalanche did fall to 11th in the Western Conference, being leap-frogged by Dallas, but this is in no way a time to panic for Colorado. Dallas, in my opinion, will not make the playoffs this season. Their talent is lackluster and will be outshone late in the season.
Just because this is not a “must-win” game for the Avalanche does not make it any less important. This is the first game at home after the All-Star break and there is no time like the present to begin another home, win streak. The Wild have become like the unofficial rival of the Avalanche as of late. Tonight’s game should be physical and a good test for the Avs. And even if Colorado drops the contest tonight they have a good chance of making the playoffs, so fans don’t sound the playoff alert just yet.
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