After having their 4-game winning streak snapped by the worst team in the NHL, the Colorado Avalanche welcome the Pittsburgh Penguins to Pepsi Center tonight in what promises to be an awesome game. After winning the Cup in 2009, the Penguins have remained a powerhouse in the league and will be a true playoff test for the Avs tonight.
With less than 20 regular season games remaining, each game counts now more than ever. By dropping what should have been a guaranteed win the other night against the Blue Jackets, Colorado must win tonight to keep pace with Dallas and Los Angeles. The Avalanche cannot afford to “take a night off” this late into the season. With many teams vying for a playoff spot in the West, the race down the stretch is tighter this year than it has been for a while.
The Avalanche usually play well against teams that have a winning record. A win IN Detroit a week ago and two well-played games against Vancouver in February prove the Avs have what it takes to beat the top teams. The sporadic play from the team though is not too reassuring to see as a fan.
Currently the Avalanche are sitting in tenth place in the West only three points out of seventh and eighth place. There is no margin for error as the Avs enter the stretch now. With tonight’s game starting a split back-to-back, meaning the Avs play at Pepsi Center tonight and then travel to Minnesota to face the Wild tomorrow night, Colorado needs to muster up some much needed strength.
Steve Downie has been well received in Denver, helping the Avalanche establish the physical game early and often since his arrival. That is exactly what the Avalanche need to keep on focusing on with the month of March being a grind for most teams. The more physical the Avalanche are with opponents, the more scoring opportunities Colorado will see.
The Avs had some good, not great, scoring chances on Columbus the other night. The problem the Avs had was the fact that they could hardly get their transition game going. Tonight’s contest is going to be even more difficult for Colorado. With the speed and veteran know-how of Pittsburgh, Colorado will have to get tough and find a way to get in front of the net and pounce on rebound opportunities. The goals in tonight’s matchup will be at a premium for Colorado, so they need to cash-in on any scoring chance they get. Get ready for a playoff type atmosphere at Pepsi Center as the Colorado Avalanche tangle with the Pittsburgh Penguins as the puck drops at 7 pm local time.
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