Colorado Avalanche Need at Least Two Points in Back to Back

ST. LOUIS, MO - FEBRUARY 08: Colorado Avalanche leftwing J.T. Compher (37) during a NHL game between the Colorado Avalanche and the St. Louis Blues on February 08, 2018, at Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - FEBRUARY 08: Colorado Avalanche leftwing J.T. Compher (37) during a NHL game between the Colorado Avalanche and the St. Louis Blues on February 08, 2018, at Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO. (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The Colorado Avalanche need a minimum of two points from their back-to-back series against the Blues and Predators.

The Colorado Avalanche are facing their penultimate back-to-back set starting tonight. They’re visiting the St. Louis Blues before heading home to face the Nashville Predators.

These are two tough competitors on their own. When you add the back-to-back element, including a flight, the situation becomes even trickier.

The Avalanche have played the Blues three times already this season and have yet to beat them. The Blues represent one of only eight regulation losses the Avs have faced at home. This is the third time they’re entering the Scottrade Center this season. On January 25, they lost 3-1. On February 8, they lost 6-1.

St. Louis played on Monday, beating the Ducks in Anaheim. They go into tonight’s game just three points out of a playoff spot and with the same number of games as the Avs.

Colorado has also faced the Predators three times, similarly failing to beat them. Nashville represents another of those eight regulation home losses. The Avs are hosting the Predators for the second time. On March 4, the Avs lost to the Predators in overtime.

Luckily, Nashville will also be on the second game of a back-to-back set. They play in Arizona on Thursday before flying in for Friday’s game. Hey, if they’re feeling a little tired and groggy from altitude, that’s just fine.

How to Enjoy the Blues Game

Game time: March 15, 6:00 pm MT
TV Networks: Altitude 2 (Avs feed), FS-MW (Blues feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (AM 950)

How to Enjoy the Predators Game

Game time: March 16, 7:00 pm MT
TV Networks: Altitude TV (Avs feed), FS-TN (Preds feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (AM 950)

Points Needed

It looks like 97 points is what it’s going to take to earn a wild card berth in the Western Conference. At the time of writing, the Avalanche have 82 points with 13 games left. You don’t need to be a math wiz to know Colorado needs a little better than a point a game to make it.

That said, if the Colorado Avalanche can find a way to earn an average of a point a game in this tough back-to-back set, that still leaves them in a good position for the rest of the season. Ideally the Avs would beat St. Louis in regulation since they’re chasing Colorado, and the Avalanche aren’t really chasing Nashville, who top the whole conference.

I’ll take the two points any way I can get them, though.

Secondary Scoring

Colorado Avalanche
Colorado Avalanche /

Colorado Avalanche

We all know Nathan MacKinnon, along with his line, is the hottest thing in the NHL right now. We all know that — including the Blues and Predators. Needless to say, they’re going to be sending out their stickiest lines.

So, the Colorado Avalanche are going to need some help from their secondary scoring. Rookies Tyson Jost and J.T. Compher have been playing very well recently. Jost got a goal against the Wild — his third against Minny. Compher got two.

The Soderberg line also looked good against Minnesota. Carl Soderberg didn’t show up on the scoresheet, but he was playing well in all three zones. He even had a couple breakaways that put the Wild back on their heels.

Alexander Kerfoot and his rotating band of linemates has gone cold. Naturally, he’s never played this many games in a season, and the every-other-day grind might be getting to him. Hopefully he can find another gear in himself during this back-to-back set.

Goal Tending Dilemma

At the time of writing, the goal tending for the back-to-back hadn’t been announced. Semyon Varlamov had a workout against Minnesota and has played in 13 consecutive games. It would make sense to give him a rest against St. Louis and play him against the tough Predators.

Except… our usual backup, Jonathan Bernier, is out with an unspecified upper body injury. So is our backup backup, Andrew Hammond, who’s in the concussion protocol. That leaves backup backup backup Spencer Martin.

I don’t know about coach Jared Bednar, but I’d be a little hesitant to start Martin in one of these all-important games. However, it would be in-ideal if Martin had to go in for a fatigued Varlamov in St. Louis.

I think the best plan of action is play Varlamov is St. Louis with the hope that Bernier, or at least Hammond, will be good to start in Colorado against the Predators. If neither is… I don’t know that I play Varly again. At that point you’re just asking for injury, and Colorado isn’t going to go far in their playoff hunt if Varlamov gets injured again.

Next: Avalanche Roundtable: Making the Playoffs

Tomorrow night marks the final meeting with the Nashville Predators. The Colorado Avalanche will finish their regular season at home against the Blues on April 7.