The Colorado Avalanche wrapped up their late season East Coast road trip last night in Manhattan, New York with a vital win against the Rangers. In fact, the Avalanche picked up 5 out of 6 points on the swing. These 5 points are THE most important points of the season and if the Avs make it into post-season play, these 3 games will be a huge part of why Colorado is there.
Before this 3 game series began, Avs fans were worried that this series may spell out the fate for the Avalanche. After beating Buffalo in a shootout, fans let out a bit of air. The following night in Jersey, fans breathed easier after Colorado picked up a point and shutout against the Devils. Fans of Colorado were overjoyed last night as the Avalanche took it to the East leading New York Rangers, 3-1.
The Avs look to have peaked at just the right time with only 8 games left in their regular season. The goaltenders were flat-out awesome on this road trip allowing only 2 goals in all 3 games. The goalie situation for the Avalanche has been a season-long dispute without having a clear-cut number one goalie. The situation Colorado has now seems to be one that is positive.
The Avs have two goaltenders that are more than capable of carrying the team all by themselves. This situation is the most favorable for Colorado going into the playoffs. By having two hot goalies, the Avalanche have many options they can explore and series strategies they can implement. Each goaltender has proved their worth this year and head coach Joe Sacco seems content with either one in net.
Obviously, Semyon Varlamov is the fan favorite to lead the Avalanche into post-season play. Not only did Colorado give up a ton of collateral for Varly, but also his play has only improved as the season has progressed. J.S. Giguere already has a Cup with the Ducks and knows mentally and physically what it takes to get through the playoffs. The difference with Colorado’s team this year from the Ducks team that Giggy was on during his Cup run, is that this team has two goalies to go between throughout the playoffs. Back with the Ducks, Giggy was the Ducks’ only choice for a consistent goalie.
I compare this Avalanche team to the Red Wing team of the late 90’s when they were so dominant in the playoffs. The Wings back then had the same type of goalie “controversy” with Mike Vernon and Chris Osgood. Both goalies were more than able to carry the Wings to victory and by having both on the team, the Wings hoisted the Cup in early June. I feel that if both net minders keep their play up, the Avs could easily find themselves raising yet another Stanley Cup banner to the rafters of Pepsi Center.
Colorado now sits in 7th place in the West after exceeding expectations on the East Coast. Their next game will not come until Tuesday when one of the biggest games to date will take place in Denver when Calgary comes to town. The Avs now have to just sit and watch as other teams play over the next few painstaking days. The first two games on slate that the Avalanche are going to be tuned into are Calgary/Columbus and Edmonton/Phoenix. Those two games will be played on Sunday night. Monday’s game that will have an impact on the Avs is Anaheim/San Jose. The points race with those teams will look like this: If Calgary wins they are within 1 of the Avs, If Phoenix wins they will be tied with the Avs and if San Jose wins they will be 1 point ahead of the Avs. As always, keep it pointed to milehighsticking.com for all of the latest on the run for the playoffs.
1) (G) Varlamov COL
2) (L) Landeskog COL
3) (G) Lundqvist NYR
|Actual Points Before Tonight’s Games||Predicted Points After Tonight’s Games|
|7th||COL – 83||SJS – 84|
|8th||SJS – 82||COL – 83|
|9th||LAK – 82||CGY – 82|
|10th||PHX – 81||LAK – 82|
|11th||CGY – 80||PHX – 81|
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