Colorado Avalanche Finally Find Some Road Identity

ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 15: Mikko Rantanen
ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 15: Mikko Rantanen /

The Colorado Avalanche have developed a road identity just in time for a tough playoff push.

The Colorado Avalanche have finally found some measure of a road identity. The only way I can describe it is as ugly and slightly awkward. With a good helping of opportunistic, and that’s the important part.

This new road identity relies largely on the goalie, in this case Semyon Varlamov. That’s not unusual. A lot of their home game depends on the goalie coming up big. That’s always been part of the Colorado Avalanche M.O.

We saw that reliance in both Minnesota and St. Louis. In both games, the Avalanche were out-possessed in the first period. In Minnesota, the team went into the locker room in the first period with a shot differential of 10-1. Overall, the Wild out-shot the Avs 34 to 22. The difference-maker was, of course, Varlamov.

That flat start must be part of their road identity because we’ve seen it a lot this year — including in St. Louis. The shot differential wasn’t quite as bad going into the first intermission — 13-8. However, the Blues had a couple Grade-A scoring chances.

Along those lines, the second part of the Avalanche’s road identity is being solid on the penalty kill. In both games, Colorado was more penalized, especially early in the game. However, the Avs didn’t allow a power play goal in all those chances.

In fact, Colorado only allowed two goals, one in each game.

The final part of the Colorado Avalanche’s road identity is being opportunistic. They may not get a ton of scoring chances, but they managed to capitalize in both first periods.

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Colorado went into both first intermissions down on shots but up on the scoreboard. In the game against the Wild, J.T, Compher drew a penalty and scored with a nifty wrister before Minnesota could regain possession and sent the guilty player to the penalty box.

In St. Louis, it was Colorado’s best player, Nathan MacKinnon, taking over what little possession the Avs had and capitalizing. He scored not one, but two goals in the first period.

The Avalanche head back to Colorado for a two-game home stand. They’ll get to test out their new road identity on Tuesday, March 20 on a little one-off in Chicago. This is a big game because the United Center is a notoriously tough barn to play in.

The Avs have only 12 more games with just five of them on the road. It looks like they control their own destiny. It seems 97 points will win a playoff spot. Colorado has 84, meaning they need 11 in those 12 games. If they get nine points at home — and that’s actually a little below the 70% range — they need just 2 points in those five road games.

Their remaining road games are the following:

  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • Vegas Golden Knights
  • Anaheim Ducks
  • LA Kings
  • San Jose Sharks

That’s actually a little painful. However, they just need to find a way to squeeze out two or three points.

Next: Jost Loves Scoring on the Wild

It’s a little late for the Colorado Avalanche to have finally developed a road identity. However, they have a solid home identity, one that’s let them win 70% of their games in Pepsi Center over the course of the season.

This is meaningful hockey, Avs Nation.