The Colorado Avalanche must prove they’re a winning team by putting the nail in tonight coffin against the Arizona Coyotes.
The Colorado Avalanche are facing a version of a must-win situation.
Right before the Christmas break is not a normal time for a must-win situation. We’re not even at the halfway point of the season. What’s more, the Avalanche are in solid possession of the third seed in the Central Division with the Dallas Stars seven points behind and only one game in hand.
However, Colorado went 2-2 in the four-game home stand. Playing .500 hockeyin a building you’re supposed to dominate because it’s your home barn is not acceptable.
What’s more, the Avs are facing an inferior rival. Yes, any NHL team can win on any given night because it is, after all, composed of NHL-caliber players.
However, the Arizona Coyotes are the second-worst team in the Western Conference and also the entire NHL. If you’re a good team, you should make minced meat of such teams (Christmas allusion intended).
So, tonight we get to see if the Avalanche are a good team or one that’s still rebuilding.
The Coyotes are coming in on a three-game losing skid. The Avalanche, like I said, were up and down during their home stand.
How to Enjoy the Game
Game time: December 22, 5:00 pm MT
TV Networks: Alt2 , FS-A PLUS (Yotes’ feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (FM 92.5)
The Colorado Avalanche played last night, so today is the second leg of a back-to-back series. What’s more, they probably got into their hotels late after a Christmas-packed ride to the airport. Luckily, the flight wasn’t long, but still.
Meanwhile, the Coyotes have been kicking it since Thursday when they lost to Montreal at home. For them, tonight marks the first game of a back-to-back.
The Avalanche must find a way to fight through their fatigue. The key here will be to start strong, show some pep in their step. The first goal is crucial.
Playing Down to Opponents
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The Avs have the infuriating habit of being able to beat good teams but falling to inferior foes. Yes, all NHL teams are composed of NHLers. However, they have losing records for a reason, which is individual to each team.
Colorado seems to have a hard time capitalizing on those weaknesses.
However, as un-gentlemanly as it sounds, the Colorado Avalanche need to learn how to exploit those weaknesses and absolutely slaughter bad teams. Use these games as an excuse to pad your stats.
What’s more, the Avs need to stop letting themselves be man-handled. Yes, enforcers are no longer in vogue. However, teams have discovered that the best way to slow down Colorado is to take physical liberties with the Avs.
Colorado have some big, aggressive players, including their captain and one of the alternates (Erik Johnson). Unleash the hounds.
Check out this impressive save from the Chicago Blackhawks game:
In fact, Grubauer is making a case for himself on the ice to enact the full Grubi Experiment.
And that should inspire the heck out of Varlamov. You don’t make it to the NHL without being extraordinarily competitive. And Varly is playing for a contract, if not with the Avs than with one of the teams who desperately needs a legitimate starting goalie.
In other words, I expect Varly to play lights-out tonight. So, c’mon Avs, get over your scoring slump.
The Colorado Avalanche beat the Arizona Coyotes in late November. After tonight, they’ll only meet one more time, in late March.