Playoff hockey was on tap last night at Pepsi Center when the Avalanche took on the Calgary Flames. It was not an actual playoff game, but the atmosphere inside of Pepsi Center sure felt like it was. The teams even had a playoff type feel about them as they took the ice for what was an awesome game between two teams battling for a playoff spot.
The game last night at Pepsi Center exemplified everything that a playoff game should. The forwards were willing to sacrifice their bodies against shots from the blue line, defensemen were finishing their checks and the goalies were impenetrable fortresses making goals a premium. In fact, last night both net minders earned a mention in the game’s three stars.
Flames goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff and Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov put on a clinic last night. Both goaltenders let in a goal early in the first period and then stopped everything else thrown their way in regulation. Varlamov even had to make a save as the horn sounded at the end of regulation. Varly out-dueled his counterpart just long enough thanks to David Jones scoring on Kiprusoff 3:51 in OT to seal the deal for the Avs.
With the win last night, the Avalanche now sit in 7th place and are only 5 points out of 6th in the West. Looking at way the West seems to be shaping up, Colorado would absolutely benefit most by locking up the 6th place spot. The Stars and Coyotes are battling for the top spot in the Pacific Division which would guarantee that team a 3rd place bid overall in the West. The second place team in that division will most likely miss the playoffs. This means that whatever team lands in the 6th spot in the West would draw a weak 3rd place team and increase their chances of advancing in the playoffs.
With seven games left, the Avalanche need to make the most of each and every game. Up next for the Avs is a road game that takes them to Phoenix to battle the Coyotes. After wrapping up a must win game last night, the Avs must now turn their attention to yet another must win game against Phoenix. The Avs must win in Phoenix in order to distance themselves from the red-hot Kings and move ever closer to that coveted 6th place spot. The Avs need to accumulate as many points as possible before the first of April in order to secure a spot in the postseason. With games against Phoenix, Vancouver, San Jose and Calgary coming before month’s end, the Avalanche are in total control of their own destiny. All the Avs need to do is keep winning.
1) (G) Varlamov COL
2) (R) Jones COL
3) (G) Kiprusoff CGY
|Actual Points Before Tonight’s Games||Predicted Points After Tonight’s Games|
|7th||COL – 85||COL – 85|
|8th||LAK – 84||LAK – 84|
|9th||PHX – 84||PHX – 84|
|10th||SJS – 82||SJS – 82|
|11th||CGY – 82||CGY – 82|
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