Colorado Avalanche: Success without Duchene and MacKinnon

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colorado avalanche
Nov 25, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Andreas Martinsen (27) and Ottawa Senators right wing Chris Neil (25) fight during the third period at Pepsi Center. The Senators won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports /

Colorado Avalanche Get Physical

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Speaking of Cody McLeod and his ilk, now is the time for the Colorado Avalanche to channel their inner bruisers. They’re facing the gritty Philadelphia Flyers — a team literally known as the Broad Street Bullies — and the so-hated Minnesota Wild.

Now, as with McLeod, the line is fine. As fantastic as the Colorado Avalanche’s penalty killing is — 31 of the last 32 and 82.1% on the season — they cannot afford to keep losing momentum by having to go on the penalty kill.

The players simply have to follow coach Roy’s recurring advice to finish their checks. In fact, really only Duchene and MacKinnon were exempt from that advice to preserve their health as shooters. Now every Avalanche player needs to be a bruising force on the ice.

Besides McLeod, players who especially need to be nasty are Shawn Matthias, Andreas Martinsen, Francois Beauchemin, Andrew Bodnarchuk and Erik Johnson. I’d say Gabriel Landeskog, too, within reason — he’s now the Avalanche’s best player and, you know, suspensions. Plus, if Iginla isn’t going to score goals, then he needs to bruise bodies.

I’d also add Zach Redmond to that list, though physicality isn’t his strong suit. Then again, if he wants to make the team over Bodnarchuk, he’d better find his inner bully.

Next: Varlamov