Colorado Avalanche: Positive Takeaways from Game 6 and the Playoffs

DENVER, CO - APRIL 22: Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog
DENVER, CO - APRIL 22: Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog /

The Colorado Avalanche suffered a tough 5-0 loss at home to the Nashville Predators, thus ending their 2017-18 season. But they gave us so much to be proud of.

The Colorado Avalanche did not have a good game. It was a game filled with mistakes that led to a loss. It led, in fact, to being shut out at home and eliminated from the playoffs.

That stings. But we all knew the Avs were playing with house money this whole playoffs. After last season, a 70+ point season would have been a success. Instead, Colorado earned 95 points and a playoff berth.

The Avalanche were playing with house money, so every goal they scored and those two amazing wins were profit. But, alas, the season is now over.

So, let’s look at the positive lessons we learned from Game 6.

The Rookies Don’t Give Up

The third period, especially after the Nashville Predators got their fifth unanswered goal, you could see the life go out of the Avalanche players. They were having a bad game, and it was an elimination game, so they knew what that meant.

I’m not saying the veterans gave up, but the rookies still went out there with the same fire as they’d had all along. Indeed, we nearly saw Tyson Jost get into his first NHL fight, and in the playoffs no less! Alexander Kerfoot won some key faceoffs, and really had a lot of pep in his step.

And Sam Girard. He is a quality puck-moving defenseman and damn it if that boy didn’t actually put the puck on net! None of that fancy stuff for our Sammy — he’s just going to shoot the puck at the opponent goal.

Everyone Guts it Out

Radio host Marc Moser became infamous for his call of Sven Andrighetto‘s game-winning goal in Game 5 — the last goal the Avs scored in this series, as it turns out. His main point was that this team is all guts.

The Colorado Avalanche came into this season with a chip on their shoulders. They stated from Day 1 that they were going to make the playoffs. Personally, I thought they were just paying lip service — every team says that even when it’s not really going to happen.

However, the Avs had an imperfect season — and some really imperfect games — and didn’t let it go to their heads. They answered bad games by addressing the issues and doing better. And during the playoffs these little upstart #17s gave the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Predators a run for their money. The Avs-Preds series was the most competitive in the Western Conference and more competitive than most of the East games, too.

Colorado won more games than the other Western eliminated teams combined. Both the LA Kings and Anaheim Ducks were swept, and the Minnesota Wild won only one. Avs got two.

Related Story: Avs Make Fans Proud

Nathan MacKinnon is the Real Deal

Boy oh boy is Nathan MacKinnon fun to watch. I met the CEO of the Predators, and one of the first things he said to me was, “I love watching Nathan MacKinnon play — when he’s not playing us.”

We all saw it. We all saw MacKinnon catch fire in November and never look back. We all know he’s the reason this team made the playoffs. And everyone in Avs Nation agrees he should win the Hart Trophy for team MVP.

Even P.K. Subban, whom we all love to hate and hate to love after this series, had glowing praise for MacKinnon:

We’re so lucky to have MacKinnon.

Fans Love the Team

The Colorado Avalanche p.r. team were kind enough to give me free tickets to the game tonight. They did an amazing job covering the Avs and furthering our enjoyment of the team.

That’s not why the fans love the team, though. When I was driving over to the game, the streets were packed, and throngs of Avs fans were streaming toward Pepsi Center. As I looked around the arena later, there were so few Preds fans. It was a sea of burgundy and blue.

When it was clear there was going to be no comeback, the chants of “Let’s go, Avalanche!” continued to ring out in Pepsi Center. And as the Avs lost, the crowd continued to cheer the team and gave them a standing ovation:

I know the playoffs always bring fans out of the woodwork. But I don’t care if you only love the Avs in the playoffs or if you’re a 24/7/365 kind of maniac like me. If you support the burgundy and blue, you are good people.

Next: Avs Winning Game 5 Thrilled Us

We have plenty of offseason to dissect this season, what the Avs accomplished and what still needs to be done. But we have a little less time for such rumination, Avs Nation. Because the Colorado Avalanche made it to the playoffs. And they drew the series out to six games.

And that’s my final, positive takeaway.