Colorado Avalanche Facing Must-Win Situation in Montreal

MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 23: Colorado Avalanche Defenceman Erik Johnson (6) looses control of the puck during the Colorado Avalanche versus the Montreal Canadiens game on January 23, 2018, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 23: Colorado Avalanche Defenceman Erik Johnson (6) looses control of the puck during the Colorado Avalanche versus the Montreal Canadiens game on January 23, 2018, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Even though the Colorado Avalanche are still in a playoff spot, they need to beat the Montreal Canadiens to maintain playoff contention.

So the Colorado Avalanche haven’t responded to my subtle “Well, it would be nice if they pulled out the win” posts, so let’s go back to the more forceful variety. The Avalanche need a win against the Montreal Canadiens.

Luckily for Colorado, the Dallas Stars recently lost, so nothing has changed in the standings. Colorado is in the first wild card spot with 48 points (20-16-8) and a game in hand over Dallas’ 80 points (23-18-4).

That said, Colorado is 2-6-2 in their last 10. And that ain’t good, Mikey. That ain’t good at all.

All-time, the Avalanche have bested the Canadiens, going 19-9-0-3 (ties). Last season, the Avs won at home but lost in Montral. They already won at home against the Habs, 2-1 in December. However, we’re only one season removed from that embarrassing 10-1 loss in Montreal.

Tonight’s game also marks the midpoint of the five-game road trip. So far, Colorado has nary a point on this roadie. They need some love tonight in Montreal.

How to Enjoy the Game

Game time: January 12, 5:00 pm MT
TV Networks: ALT, SN, TVAS (Habs’ Feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (FM 92.5)

Goaltending, Please

The Colorado Avalanche played very well against both Winnipeg and Calgary. Or, rather, the skaters did. When it came to the goalies… not so much.

What really stinks is that both Avs goalies — the whole “Colorado has two number-one goalies — were… stinkalicious. It hasn’t felt recently like the Avs have had two number-one goalies so much as two backups.

At the time of writing, there had been no announcement of which

backup

goalie would get the start  in Montreal. Whichever man is between the pipes for Colorado really needs to have a redemptive game.

Answering Game

Speaking of redemption, there was a little incident recently. Our star center, Nathan MacKinnon, indulged in a bit of a temper. Now, he’s a fierce competitor, and we admire him for that. He has also, predictably, come out taking full responsibility for his actions

That said, tonight is still an answering game. Not that MacKinnon has anything to answer for on the ice — he has been exemplary in the majority of the games he’s played. Rather, we need to see what the team around him can produce.

Hey, like it or not, this team is build largely around our hot-headed star center. As Nate goes, so goes the team.

Minimize Errors

For the love of hockey, Avalanche, stay out of the penalty box. Colorado’s penalty kill has been dismal at best in recent games. That really shouldn’t be a surprise considering how defense has always been Colorado’s Achilles heel. However, that means the Avs should be avoiding penalties.

We’re also hoping they can minimize turnovers. And defensive breakdowns. And all the other big mistakes that have led them to losing recently.

Next. Landeskog Going to ASG. dark

Tonight marks the final meetup between the Colorado Avalanche and the Montreal Canadiens. Colorado’s next game is in Toronto against the Maple Leafs on Monday.