Colorado Avalanche: Playoff Push into Final Six Games

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 21: Erik Johnson #6, Ian Cole #28 and the Colorado Avalanche bench celebrate a goal against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center on March 21, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - MARCH 21: Erik Johnson #6, Ian Cole #28 and the Colorado Avalanche bench celebrate a goal against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center on March 21, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche have a very real chance of making the playoffs. Here are some keys for the final six games.

In the up and down season that the Colorado Avalanche have gone through, we are now into the final six games. We’re still in the playoffs!

Now, a few short weeks ago, this may have been seen as unlikely, improbable, or even impossible. But that’s not the spirit of Avs Nation, is it?

Not in this fan’s eyes, at least.

With 10 games to go, the Avalanche went on the road for arguably the most important two games of the entire year. Potentially, those two games are more important than Game 82 last season, when Colorado beat St Louis in a winner-take-all postseason showdown.

A tale of two Tysons led the way for the Avalanche, as we rolled a lackluster Wild team 3-1 and made up some valuable ground on the wildcard spots, Barrie scoring a goal to inch closer to Sandis Ozolinsh’s record for most goals by an Avalanche D-Man and Tyson Jost potting the eventual game winner with a side of panache.

That wasn’t enough, as the road trip moved swiftly to Dallas. Tyson Barrie ties Ozo’s record and gets a game winner as well. Oh, did we mention he became the first member of the Avalanche Defensive corps to reach 300 points, too? How much can we say about one goal?

2 games down, 4 points. Ooh, that felt nice.

Next up is a tough home-and-home against the Chicago Blackhawks. Once we thought that this team was dead and buried, much like the St. Louis Blues, but the Hawks aren’t merely trying to spoil our season, they were trying to resurrect theirs as well.

Two points apiece from Colin Wilson and Alexander Kerfoot helped to win the first game by a score of 4-2. So after 3 games of our final 10, the Avalanche were sitting in the second wildcard spot, with a one point lead and a game in hand over both the Wild and the Coyotes. 6 points from 6, too.

So, then we boarded a plane to Chicago, to complete the old fashioned back-to-back. It was Kerfoot who struck first on the powerplay this time, with Nathan MacKinnon registering his first point of the final 10 games. More on that later.

Sadly, the Blackhawks came back to tie it late in the 3rd on their own powerplay goal from Artem Anisimov, before the final horn. Seven points from a possible 8 in the first four regulation games. I was hoping for another point to cap a fantastic start to this final 10 games.

I think Nate was too, as he set himself up for the shot and gets tripped by Duncan Keith’s stick blade under his skate. No intent, I get that, but when Keith skates straight to the other end of the ice and nets the game winner, something has to be said for the weakness of the officiating.

I’m not bitter, I can hardly complain about 7 points from a possible 8. I’ll save that for a rant after the season if we miss the playoffs.

Now, the focus turns from a frantic few days of hockey into a chance to heal injured stars, such as Mikko Rantanen, who missed both games against Chicago. It’s not just that, it’s a chance to take stock. The Avs have to ignore all of the other teams involved in the playoff chase and take care of business on their own.

So far, so good.

We, as the fans, want the Avs to take the most possible points from these final 10 games. That would be 20, giving the Avs a maximum of 94 points. Well, we’re almost at the halfway point of this quest and the maximum is still at 93 points.

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The only team in the division that they can no longer catch is Winnipeg. I certainly think that the Stars are within reach and potentially even the Blues. Keeping ahead of both the Wild and Coyotes looks a little easier on paper, but the Avs have shown how quickly things can turn around, both for good and for bad.

Now, we also have to look at the power outage for our superstar. Chatting to a friend about this, I remarked that I would trade Nate MacKinnon going pointless for the entire 10 game stretch run, if it meant the Avs won every game they played in the run-in. Perhaps the hockey gods were listening, as MacK scored no points for the first three games, all of which we won. Then he goes and scores a point in the fourth game and the Avs lose again in OT.

Ok MacK, just go out there and lead the team again. You are the guy who can get a couple of game winners in these last 6, so that would be another 4 points and how crucial would that be?

I’m not going to put all of the responsibility of scoring on MacK’s shoulders – the reappearance of secondary scoring and also the fact that Mr. Grubauer has decided to register his candidacy for the Colorado Avalanche starting job have also played a large part in the play of late. Keep up the good work, guys!

The benchmark from various of my colleagues has been around 18 points from the last 12 games. Halfway through that, we stand at halfway to the goal, with 9 points from a possible 12 so far. Taking off the shutout win versus New Jersey and the disappointing loss to Anaheim, the last four games look much more impressive.

It’s become habit for me to suggest that every time it goes to OT this season, we add a point and move on. I know that this needs to be addressed in the off season, they will be better next year.

My final point is that when I watched the broadcast of the Avalanche game against the Blackhawks from the Can, I was disappointed to see a sea of red jerseys surrounding our players. As a subscribing member of Avs Nation, we need to avoid that situation happening again.

Not a pleasant sight for the team with the longest consecutive sell-out streak in NHL history. When we get back to winning ways, I expect the Can to be a sea of Burgundy and Blue once more, where opponents fear to skate

Bednar Needs to Wake Up. dark. Next

Will the Colorado Avalanche make the postseason? I still believe so. The players and coaches know what they have to do, we as the fans know what we have to do. Let’s help them get there!