Colorado Avalanche Face Hard Game in Anaheim

ANAHEIM, CA - JANUARY 31: Nick Ritchie
ANAHEIM, CA - JANUARY 31: Nick Ritchie /
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The Colorado Avalanche have a tough road game against the Anaheim Ducks. It’s one they must and should win.

More from Mile High Sticking

The Colorado Avalanche need to win this game — nothing is new there. They’ve been in a must-win situation for so long we’re all repeating ourselves about it.

The Avalanche must win this game because one of the teams they’re chasing in the playoff standings is the Anaheim Ducks. With a win tonight, Colorado can leapfrog the Ducks back into the wild card berth.

Colorado must win this game for Semyon Varlamov and Erik Johnson. Both players suffered season-ending injuries in the last two games, and that’s crushing to all of us. They deserve to watch their teammates pull together and get them a regulation win.

Oh, yeah, did I mention the win needed to be in regulation? We can’t afford for this game to become a three-pointer. And as we saw the other night when the Ducks played the LA Kings, that’s exactly what they’re going to try and do. That’s how they have a wild card spot over the Avalanche, who have more ROWs — the loser point.

How to Enjoy the Game

Game time: April 1, 7:00pm MT
TV Networks: Altitude (Avs feed), SN, SN360 (Ducks feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (FM 92.5)

MacKinnon Must Score

Nathan MacKinnon hasn’t had a goal in six games. He’s had only four points in that time period. For most of the season he was the hottest player in the NHL. And now he’s gone cold.

Nathan MacKinnon must score. His whole line must step up big time. However, the Ducks are going to try and suffocate MacKinnon specifically. Every team is going to try and suffocate him for the rest of his career. He’s going to have to figure out how to get around that. His teammates should help with that.

But Nathan MacKinnon must score.

Jonathan Bernier Must Get Hot

Goalie Jonathan Bernier has missed large chunks of this season with two different concussions and an infected finger. The first concussion put a damper in what was a hot streak — he was responsible for nine of the wins in the 10-game streak a while back.

Bernier is a good goalie. He came in solid when Varlamov went down with his injury against the Blackhawks. He’s got to find that extra gear because he’s the number-one now.

And for the love of hockey, he has to stay healthy.

Colorado Avalanche Must Play a Tight Game

It’s fine for the Colorado Avalanche to use their speed to create scoring chances. What they cannot do is start skating around like chickens with their heads cut off, if chickens could ice skate.

Anyway, they have to minimize their mistakes, and part of that is not taking too many penalties. They also need to try and hold onto the puck, because Anaheim doesn’t give it back too easily. And they need to control their emotions if something goes wrong during the game. They did a good job of that in the Chicago game, but that was at home.

And the Avs need to find their away mojo. That means playing a full 60 minutes and all 200 feet of the ice.

Next: Every Night is the Biggest of the Season

After tonight’s game, the Colorado Avalanche hop over to LA to face the Kings tomorrow night.