With the Calgary Flames officially eliminated from playoff contention, the Colorado Avalanche are hoping that tonight will not spell out their playoff fate. The Avs are idle for another couple of days and all Colorado can do is sit and hope for the best.
The bottom of the Western Conference standings look like this; Phoenix in 7th with 91 points, San Jose in 8th with 90 points, Dallas in 10th with 89 points and finally the Avalanche in 11th with 88 points. Tonight, all but three of the aforementioned teams are in action. The team left out of the action tonight, unfortunately, is the Avalanche.
To make Avalanche fans lose a little more sleep and raise their blood pressure just a bit more, the games that the three teams around Colorado are playing in can spell the demise of the Avalanche. Phoenix is playing against a Columbus team that has battled adversity all year. Tonight the Blue Jackets can rise up and play the role of spoiler, or Phoenix can secure a spot that Colorado cannot reach by picking up their 93rd point.
The game that will be on 98% of most Avalanche fan’s television sets will ultimately be the matchup between the Sharks and Stars. These two teams lie just ahead of the Avs in the standings and no matter which way one slices it, it does not bode well for Colorado. The only plausible scenario for that game is for the Stars to win in regulation tonight. If that happens the Stars would be sitting with 91 points and the Sharks would be at 90 points, both of which the Avalanche could still surpass. If San Jose wins, they would pick up their 92nd point and just need one more to eliminate the Avalanche from playoff contention.
The magic, or miserable, number for Colorado is 92. The Avalanche need other teams to stay below the threshold of 92 in order to have a chance at the playoffs. Any team with points greater than 92 means that Colorado can no longer catch that team, thus getting them one step closer to elimination. Tonight will prove to be probably the most stressful night to date for the Colorado Avalanche. Ideally, Columbus and Dallas would win in regulation and make the race for 8th that much tighter. All we can do now is sit back and watch.
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