The Colorado Avalanche can have success even without their leading scorers, Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon, but some key elements have to fall into place.
That would be the perfect reason for the team to check out — how can they be expected to clinch a wild card playoff berth without their two franchise players? After all, the team with which they’re fighting for that final spot is the Minnesota Wild, who’ve had the Avalanche’s number ever since exiting them in Game 7 of the 2013 playoffs.
Of course, the lack of Duchene didn’t stop the Colorado Avalanche from winning against the Calgary Flames on Friday. Missing both Duchene and MacKinnon didn’t stop the Avs from beating the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.
Now, at this point in the season, with the Colorado Avalanche in the death struggle with their arch nemesis for the final playoff berth, and with just a point separating the two teams… well, every single game counts. Actually, that’s not true — every single shift counts right now. Since Duchene and MacKinnon average about 23 shift per game, that’s a whole lot of shifts that need to get covered.
What’s more, it’s not like the next two games are easy. The Avs are facing two teams who are in playoff death struggles of their own. The Thursday match is against the Philadelphia Flyers, who are trying to beat out the Detroit Red Wings for the final wild card spot in the east. And Saturday’s match? It’s against the selfsame Minnesota Wild.
Yippee-ki-yay, that’s a fun ride to take without your two best players, right? Well, the Colorado Avalanche showed they can have success without Duchene and MacKinnon, at least temporarily. Let’s see what needs to start happening and what needs to continue for that success to come to fruition.