Colorado Avalanche Must Get Home Mojo Back vs Vegas

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 19: Erik Johnson
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 19: Erik Johnson /

The Colorado Avalanche have dropped back down to second wild card berth. They need to regain their hometown mojo against Vegas.

The Colorado Avalanche laid an egg at home when the LA Kings visited Pepsi Center on Thursday night. I haven’t had to heart to check Wikipedia to see if some wit has changed Avs owner to “Anze Kopitar.”

But, the Cinderella rule is in full effect, and were a day-and-a-half removed from that awful, awful game. This afternoon, the Avalanche have another matinee game. Today they’re hosting the Vegas Golden Knights.

Now, naturally, Vegas is a new team, so Colorado doesn’t have much of an all-time record against them. The two teams have only faced one other time in the regular season, in Vegas. That was a 7-0 whooping that I’d rather not talk about.

The Avalanche actually have a home and away series against the Knights. They’ll host Vegas at the Pepsi Center today before heading off to Vegas for the final game of their series.

Vegas is coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks. The 7-1 loss coupled with the Anaheim Ducks gaining a point in their game with the Winnipeg Jets has dropped the Avalanche to the second wild card berth.

How to Enjoy the Game

Game time: March 24, 1:00pm MT
TV Networks: Altitude TV (Avs feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (AM 950)

Youth Bounceback Potential

More from Mile High Sticking

As we well know, the Colorado Avalanche are a young team. And the nice thing about youngsters is they have the attention span of a gnat. I actually mean that as a compliment. Youngsters usually don’t have it in them to brood.

Young players such as Tyson Jost, Samuel Girard, J.T. Compher and Alexander Kerfoot will have to lead the way on having a short memory. And “veterans” such as Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and captain Gabriel Landeskog need to forget what last season felt like when a 7-1 game at home was just business as usual. It is not business as usual this season.

In fact, this game against Vegas could be a defining moment for the Avalanche. Early on, they showed their mettle. When they had a poor game in New Jersey (4-1 loss), they came back and shut out the Bruins in Boston. Just a bit later, when they dropped that 7-0 game in Vegas, they beat the Blackhawks in Denver 6-3.

So, the Colorado Avalanche really do have it in them to bounce back.

Goal Tending Situation

I called it. The Colorado Avalanche were over-relying on goalie Semyon Varlamov.

Related Story: Avs Over-Relying on Varly

I’m certainly not going to hang the 7-1 loss on Varlamov. The man had played in 14 consecutive games. Obviously Colorado felt that was the way to go with their primary backup (Jonathan Bernier) and secondary backup (Andrew Hammond) going through the concussion protocol.

In fact, Varlamov allowed five goals on 20 shots against the Kings (.750 save percentage). That prompted coach Jared Bednar to put Jonathan Bernier and his concussion mask into net for the Avs:

colorado avalanche
DENVER, CO – MARCH 22: Goaltender Jonathan Bernier /

Bernier fared somewhat better, “only” allowing two goals in 15 shots (.867 save percentage). But it’s tough coming into a game as a goalie in the middle of a period. It’s even tougher when you’re forced to wear a (bright white) concussion mask because you’ve had two concussions in around a month.

In that vein, Marc-Andre Fleury of the Knights has also suffered two concussions this season. He has joined the team in Colorado and is “likely” to play in today’s game. However, Coach Gerard Gallant remarked in a post-practice presser that it’s “not a done deal.”

Varlamov is set to start, though.

Next: Avs Over-Relying on Varly

After today’s game, the Colorado Avalanche will head to Vegas for the two teams’ final meeting of the regular season.