Colorado Avalanche Not Giving Valentines to the Canadiens

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 07: Gabriel Landeskog
DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 07: Gabriel Landeskog /
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The Colorado Avalanche host the Montreal Canadiens for a single home stand game. The Avs need to beat the Habs to keep their playoff dreams alive.

The Colorado Avalanche are hosting the Montreal Canadiens in what we’re all hoping is a Valentine’s Day massacre — of the Habs, of course.

This is the second and final meeting between the two teams. The Avalanche and Canadiens met in Montreal on January 23. The Habs played a heavy game that slowed down Colorado’s speed game — and prevailed 4-2.

The Avs are coming off a nailbiter of a win against the Buffalo Sabres that saw them almost completely fritter away a three-goal lead. The Canadiens are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators.

How to Enjoy the Game

Game time: February 14 , 7:30 pm MT
TV Networks: Altitude TV (Avs feed), TSN2, RDS (Habs feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (AM 950)

No Nate Yet

More from Mile High Sticking

Yesterday marked the two-week mark since star center Nathan MacKinnon got injured in the game against the Vancouver Canucks. He was at practice yesterday participating in non-contact drills with a no-contact jersey on.

As Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog pointed out in his post-practice presser, it’s good that MacKinnon is out there “skating hard,” but the players aren’t “counting down the days.” He added, “We’re focusing on trying to win hockey games.”

There’s certainly no question that the Avalanche’s offense hasn’t been as dynamic without MacKinnon. They’re producing fewer shots, fewer goals, and a power play that looks downright lost.

However, the Canadiens found out how to slow down a MacKinnon-led Avalanche. Hopefully the absence of that speedy powerhouse will befuddle them.

Side note: Watch as alternate captain Erik Johnson keeps a totally straight face while saying he’s disappointed at MacKinnon’s progress and hopes the center “sits out a little longer” to give some other players a chance on the power play:

Pro tip: Don’t play poker with Erik Johnson.

Need to Win

At the time of writing, the Colorado Avalanche were four points out of a playoff spot with one game in hand over the final wild card team — the (hated) Minnesota Wild. Colorado has 27 games left.

I’m not saying the Avalanche need to win every single game from here on out — because that would be impossible. However, Minnesota is on pace for a 99-point season. Colorado, 95. That means the Avalanche will have to play a little above their current win percentage of 54%. They need to win about 18 or 19 more games — that puts them above the 60% win percentage — we’re talking mid-60s.

Well, that might be a pipe dream. However, to keep the pipe dream alive, the Avs need to keep up their excellent home play to mitigate how not-dominating they are on the road.

Next: Jost Breaks Power Play Drought

After tonight’s game the Avalanche have another go at a road game — a quick trip up to Canada to play the Central Division rival Winnipeg Jets on Friday.