The Colorado Avalanche start their latest road trip, a three-gamer in the Wild West, against the Anaheim Ducks.
The Colorado Avalanche have embarked on their latest roadie. While we here in Denver were shivering in the sleety ice, the team arrived in balmy (72 degrees) Anaheim.
This is an important road trip for the Avs because they’re facing three Western Conference teams who, frankly, aren’t great. The Arizona Coyotes are plodding along in their rebuild. The Ducks and, especially, Kings are just plodding along.
There’s no such thing as easy points when you’re playing in the NHL. However, if the Avalanche play their best game, they should be able to rack up some points out west.
It all starts with Anaheim.
All-time, the Avalanche have done well against the Ducks, having gone 39-34-10-7 (ties). Last season, they edged out the Ducks twice, both in the Pepsi Center. Their one loss was in overtime in Anaheim.
Philipp Grubauer has already been tapped to start against Anaheim.
How to Enjoy the Game
Game time: November 18, 6:00 pm MT
TV Networks: Alt, PRIME (Ducks’ feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (FM 92.5)
If you happen to be going to the game, make sure you get your free hockey glove oven mitt. I wish the Avs did a promotion like that.
Don’t Play Down to your Opponent
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The Colorado Avalanche have a dreadful habit of playing down to their opponent, meaning they don’t roll out their best game when they don’t think the other team is that great. However, every NHL team is filled with, you know, NHL players. And you don’t get to the NHL by being a bad, or even mediocre, or even good hockey player.
Every NHL team features at least a couple marquee stars, a handful of elite talent, and some excellent hockey players. And to a man they’re more competitive than your average Joe.
Re-Ignite the Top Line
On the flip side, it’s time to see the top line of Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen, and Nathan MacKinnon re-take their dominance. They showed flashes of brilliance against the Washington Capitals, especially MacKinnon.
However, I was really hoping the see the chemistry and the pure… eliteness they showcased against the Boston Bruins. Here it is in play:
Look at what accord they are in together as they skate through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone. When those guys are playing with that kind of synchronicity, their as close to unstoppable as it gets.
Clean up the Mistakes
The biggest factor the Colorado Avalanche need to clean up is their mistake-making. There are going to be mistakes in every game — heck, maybe every shift. However, the Avs are making egregious mistakes and failing to return from them.
For example, the Avalanche turned over the puck eight times against the Washington Capitals. Every single one of those turnovers resulted in a scoring chance.
Colorado also has to get better with their passing. The Avs are a team built for elite stick handling — there really is no reason they can’t effect crisp, tape-to-tape passes.
Honestly, clean up just those two areas, and the Avalanche have an excellent chance of winning against any team in the NHL.
Injury Update: J.T. Compher did not start the trip with the team. However, he’ll be re-evaluated here in Denver. He might be a go for later in the trip.
After today’s game, the Colorado Avalanche have two days before they play again, when they take on the Kings in LA.