Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Crunch Time for the Avalanche as the Ducks of Anaheim Come to Town

The Avalanche have found themselves in a playoff race that will be talked about for ages.  The Avs enjoyed sitting in the 8th place spot for a day until getting bullied back down to 10th in the West.  With Calgary and L.A. both winning last night, the Avalanche are deadlocked in a three-way tie with 76 points, but sit in 10th due to head-to-head records and games played.  The best thing that will help out Colorado is to win the majority of the games left on the schedule.

Tonight the Avalanche welcome the Ducks of Anaheim to Pepsi Center in what looks to be a great battle between two great hockey teams.  The Avs are looking to improve their position in the West while the Ducks are looking to salvage a rather dismal season.  The Ducks still have a vague shot at making the postseason, but it would take numerous miracles for that to happen.  Instead, the Ducks look to play the role of spoiler.  Colorado hopes they do not assume that role until after leaving Denver tonight.

 

The Avalanche looked decent on Saturday in what was their first home game without Matt Duchene.  In fact, in the two games without Duchene the Avalanche have not looked all that bad.  Despite the fact that they played from behind most of the Nashville game, the Avalanche did not quit.  The Avs have some grit and more likely than not, the team has bought into just how important these last few games of the season really are.

 

Buy-in is key, especially with a young club such as Colorado.  With so many players on the roster with little or limited playoff experience, the Avalanche need to have the mindset of a playoff team either coached or mentored to them.  If we look at the teams running away with the conferences we see veteran teams that have that mindset in place.  Detroit and Vancouver in the West and Boston and New York in the East know what it takes to not only get into the playoffs, but also what they need to do to win in the playoffs.  The young clubs like Colorado in the West and Winnipeg in the East need that extra mentoring because of the lack of veteran leadership and experience.

 

The game tonight, on paper, looks to be one the Avs should have no problem with.  If the Avalanche come out with the same type of intensity as they did with Nashville, the Avs should have Anaheim against the ropes early.  With sustained pressure early and throwing the puck toward the net, the Avalanche should come out with a victory tonight.  With only 12 games left on Colorado’s schedule, now is not the time to let up.

 

Programming Note: Tonight’s game is on the NBCSports Network

 

  Actual Points Before Tonight’s Games Predicted Points After Tonight’s Games
7th PHX – 78 PHX – 78
8th CGY – 76 COL – 78
9th LAK – 76 SJS – 77
10th COL – 76 CGY – 76
11th SJS – 75 LAK – 76

 

 

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Tags: Anaheim Ducks Colorado Avalanche

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