The Colorado Avalanche find themselves in the first absolute must win game of the season tonight as the Flames from Calgary make their way into Pepsi Center. The Flames are sitting two points behind the Avs in the West and can put a major damper on Colorado’s hopes at a postseason run tonight.
Colorado looks to ride the momentum that was created by their goaltending tandem on their recent trip along the East Coast. Semyon Varlamov and J.S. Giguere combined to go 2-0-1 in 3 games with Giggy even notching a shutout in Jersey. These two big name goalies are going to need to continue to perform in these final 8 games if Colorado expects to be in the top 8 come early April.
The other Avs that need to continue to perform are Gabriel Landeakog and Jamie McGinn. These two offensive powerhouses have combined to accrue 6 points in the past 3 games. Upon acquiring McGinn, Avalanche faithful were hoping for this kind of performance out of the left-winger. With the added offense that McGinn adds to the team, Colorado can now compete with the big clubs due to the offensive depth they now have.
The Flames come in tonight looking to gain ground on Phoenix and Colorado sitting in 11th spot in the West. This game is more of a must win for Calgary as a loss distances them even further behind 8th place. The teams around Calgary give them no help tonight either. San Jose and the Kings face off tonight which means one of those teams will be up 3 points over the Flames if Calgary drops tonight’s game against the Avalanche.
Colorado may be sitting alone in 7th place tonight if they win thanks to Dallas and Phoenix squaring off against one another. The winner of that game will sit atop the Pacific Division and be in 3rd place in the West. If Phoenix defeats the Stars tonight, the Coyotes will leap 4 spots from 7th to 3rd making each game they play more important as the season winds down.
Bottom line tonight for Colorado: just win. The Avs need to keep their winning ways about them in order to have a shot at making the playoffs. Each game the Avalanche play, they need to squeeze at least one point out of. Colorado has worked too hard to miss the playoffs and each player on the roster has bought into the mentality of “playoffs or bust.” Like usual, Colorado needs to flex their offensive and physical toughness early to gain a stronghold on tonight’s game. With only 8 games left, now is not the time to let up.
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