The Colorado Avalanche currently hold the first wildcard spot in the Western Conference, but with their current luck, should fans start worrying about not making it to the playoffs?
It’s all fun and games until we reach the halfway point of the season, and teams and fans alike begin to worry about the postseason. The Colorado Avalanche began the season with a bang and then went back to their old ways. At some point, they were among the top teams of the Central Division and it was oh so beautiful – now they’re on the wildcard.
The so-called “playoff push” begins at different times for each team, depending on the standings (and for some, it won’t even happen). As much as I want to keep a positive attitude and repeat to myself that “hope dies last”, I think it would be good if the Colorado Avalanche began their “playoff push” now. Let’s take a look.
At the time of writing, the top 3 in the Central Division are the Winnipeg Jets with 62 points, the Nashville Predators with 60 points, and the Dallas Stars with 50 points. “But the Avs also have 50 points!”, you might say. And you are right! But the league takes into account a bunch of stats that basically put the Avs in the wildcard. For now, at least.
The second wildcard spot belongs to the Minnesota Wild (49 points), with the Edmonton Oilers right behind them with 49 points as well. In their last 10 games, the Wild have six wins, the most recent a shootout win against the LA Kings. Overall, they haven’t been spectacular, so the Avs (and the fans) won’t have to worry about them. The top 3, however, are another story.
Winnipeg took Nashville’s place at the top of the standings (thanks, Jets!), and have won six of their last ten games. Funny enough, one of their losses was against the Wild – because life works in mysterious ways. So far, the Jets have won 30 out of 46 games, with two overtime losses. And then there’s Nashville.
Just like the others, the Predators have won six of their last ten games, but have won 28 out of 46 games so far, with four OT losses. Listen: they recently lost against the Carolina Hurricanes and the Detroit Red Wings. Everything is possible. This team can be cracked too – but that’s the coach’s job.
The Colorado Avalanche can still reclaim their spot among the top 3 because the team currently sitting on third place is a very inconsistent one: the Dallas Stars. By now, everyone knows the Stars’ organization has some issues they need to address away from the media – but they’re not, and it shows. The result: a team that will keep bouncing between the third place and the wildcard. And the Avs can use this to their advantage.
Going back to the top 3 would give the Avs a much-needed confidence push, but there needs to be a change of mentality as soon as they reach that third place: overconfidence is a killer, and it can make them lose that spot in the blink of an eye. Once there, don’t sit back and let the other teams play for their lives: defend the spot. And maybe – just maybe – you might make it to round two in the playoffs. I told you I’m an optimist.
Oh, and score first. The stats say so: score first and you are most likely to win, especially if you score on the first period. And now that we are on this, the stats also show that the Avs tend to score more on the third period, which is good and exciting and all but please don’t be so dramatic and score on the first and second periods too. Thanks, boys.
Is it time to panic? No, but it is time for them to play as if the playoffs started next week. A wildcard spot is good, yes – until you are paired with the top team. The Colorado Avalanche should aim for a place beyond the wildcard, but all our good wishes and thoughts won’t mean anything if the coaching staff doesn’t get into this mentality and bring the best out of the team.
The Colorado Avalanche will play against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, and hopefully it will be the beginning of their journey back to the top 3 of the Central Division.