Colorado Avalanche Look For Revenge Against the Toronto Maple Leafs


It is a little bit zealous to call game number fifteen in an NHL season a must-win game, but it sort of feels that way for the Colorado Avalanche. They have managed just three victories through their first fourteen games, are currently sitting dead last in the Central Division, and are a mere three points ahead of Buffalo, Carolina, and Columbus for dead last in the NHL. In fact, only those three teams and the Edmonton Oilers have accrued fewer points this season than the Avalanche, and no team in the league has fewer wins than the Avs this season. Things are getting ugly.

On Tuesday night, the Avalanche took on the Vancouver Canucks, a team the Avs had easily disposed of earlier in the season. The Avalanche won the first encounter 7-3, and jumped out to a 2-0 lead in Thursday night’s game. It seemed that lead would be brought into the locker room after two periods, until a last second goal in the second, brought the Canucks to within one.

In the final frame, the Avalanche completely fell apart, and gave up four unanswered goals to lose the game 5-2. The flow of the game actually was in favor of the Canucks throughout, but they were finally able to solve Varlamov, and the wheels came off for the rest of the Avs entirely.

The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Avalanche in OT earlier this season, thanks to a highlight reel goal by Phil Kessel. The moves on the goal were compared to those you could use in retro video games, leading to this nice little tribute video made by the NHL. The Avalanche will be hoping to reverse the roles of Tuesday night, and be the team who is getting revenge in this game.

The Avalanche need a win in a big way. The last time they were on Pepsi Center ice, they were getting booed to the locker room following their ugly collapse against Vancouver. If they have intentions on turning their season around, it really has to start tonight. This will get them a little confidence and excitement as they head into a critical four game road trip to the east coast.

Maple Leafs Player Spotlights

Phil Kessel – We all just got to relive ‘The Phil’ making a heroic play for his team against the Avalanche earlier this season. And hero is a pretty good word to describe his importance to his team. He is leading the Leafs with 16 points through 12 games, including a team high 6 goals. Kessel has been in on 47% of the Maple Leafs’ goals this season, so if the Avalanche can shut him down, there is a good chance the Leafs will struggle on offense.

Tyler Bozak – The former Denver University standout has been having a nice season as well, averaging just under a point per game. Bozak has 11 points through 12 games, and has chipped in 4 goals. He is the second leading scorer on the team, and is playing as the top-line center right now. Avalanche fans always scoffed at the idea of trading Paul Stastny for Bozak, and the Avalanche let Stastny walk for free to give Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon the reigns. Would be nice for Dutchy and Mac to show the Avalanche faithful why in this matchup tonight.

Daniel Winnik – The former Avalanche fan favorite is off to a solid start with the Leafs this season. Winnik has surprisingly bounced around throughout his career, despite being a solid hockey player. The Leafs are Winnik’s fourth team in four seasons. He is very effective defensively, and can be used as a shutdown guy, and also is able to chip in an above average amount of scoring for checking line player. So far this season he has a goal and 6 assists, and is also being deployed for defensive zone faceoffs over 70% of the time.

I’m sure the Avalanche would love to have Winnik on this team, especially at $1.3M. A big center who can eat up defensive minutes, and chip in some points. Instead we have Daniel Briere sitting in the press box for $4M.

Avalanche Projected Lineup


92 – 29 – 12

90 – 9 – 11

45 – 7 – 40

55 – 24 – 25


8 – 6

5 – 4

22 – 2


20 – starter


Game Details

Puck drop scheduled for just after 7 pm at Pepsi Center. Those who can’t watch live, can tune in to Altitude to get their hockey fix.