Colorado Avalanche: 4 Keys to Beating the Flames in Round 1

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 13: The Colorado Avalanche face off against the Calgary Flames at the Pepsi Center on October 13, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 13: The Colorado Avalanche face off against the Calgary Flames at the Pepsi Center on October 13, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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CALGARY, AB – JANUARY 9: David Rittich #33 of the Calgary Flames stands tall in net against the Colorado Avalance at Scotiabank Saddledome on January 9, 2019 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Goal Tending

Colorado is looking good in this category. I’m going to take an in-depth look at this matchup in a later post (once both coaches announce who their starter is). However, the Avalanche got some hot goal tending at just the right moment — leading into the playoffs.

As the Calgary Sun — and general hockey wisdom — points out, teams live and die by their goal tending in the playoffs. You only have to look at 1996 and Mr. Patrick “No More Rats” Roy to see the truth of that wisdom. And, according to the Sun, Mike Smith and David Rittich have created doubt throughout the regular season.

Of course, you could say the same for our goalies through the mid-season slump. However, starting at the beginning of March, Philipp Grubauer got hot and helped backstop the Avalanche to the postseason. Jared Bednar has coyly refused to name Grubauer as the starter, but he’s got to be. Semyon Varlamov played all three games during the regular season.