The Colorado Avalanche look to keep their win streak alive while on the road, today facing the Washington Capitals.
The Colorado Avalanche and Washington Capitals — one of those teams is undefeated in the new 2019-20 season. Surprise! It’s the Avs!
Ok, if you’re an Avs fan, it’s not a surprise to you. However, even last year if you had to bet which team would win their first four games, and you could only choose one team, you might not have said Colorado.
Well, the Avs have looked wobbly at times, but they’ve found ways to win. They look like a really good squad out there, and I believe they have it in them to be dominant in this league.
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Now, to be fair to the Caps, they had a much harder couple weeks than Colorado’s four games at home. They played six games in that time, three of them on the road.
Side note: Annoyingly, Washington let St. Louis get a point in the season opener, Dallas get a point and Nashville get two points. It’s like they weren’t trying to help the Avs in the standings at all.
Anyway, there’s no question that the Caps aren’t trying to help Colorado today. Indeed, all-time the Avs have gone 13-16-2-2 (ties) against Washington. Last season, the Capitals exploited Colorado’s ineffectiveness in overtime, winning both their matches in OT.
It’s a new year, and Colorado is fresh off their first overtime win of the season. So, let’s look at some of the storylines to follow today.
Columbus Day Tradition
The Colorado Avalanche have a tradition of playing on Columbus Day. It’s only been in the last few years that the game is early like today’s, in deference to people apparently having the day off. However, in the previous 23 seasons, they’ve played on Columbus Day 10 times. And one of those missed times was the year lost to the lockout.
Interestingly, Colorado has a tradition of playing Boston on Columbus Day, having faced the Bruins five of those times. And they won every time except one, a tie in 1999.
Nine of those 10 times they’ve faced Eastern Conference teams — the one outlier was a 7-3 victory over the Calgary Flames in 2005.
The tradition started their first year here, 1995, when they hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins. The two teams skated to a thrilling 6-6 tie. That game marks the only other tie in the Columbus Day tradition. And it just so happened to be my first-ever NHL game.
All-time, Colorado has gone 6-2-2 (ties) on Columbus Day. The two losses were to Buffalo (1998) and Philadelphia (2010). Their last Columbus Day game was in 2017, a 4-0 victory over the Bs.
Return of Burakovsky and Grubauer
One of the big storylines for this game is that Andre Burakovsky is returning to face the only other NHL team he’s ever known — and he’s only been with his current team for four regular-season games.
The team will show a special on Burakovsky’s return tomorrow. No quotes from him yet, but I’m going to guess it’s in the realm of excited and nervous and ready to show the Caps what they’re missing.
Here’s the seemingly shy Andre speaking with Altitude TV host Lauren Jbara:
Philipp Grubauer is also returning to his former team today. He’s been back before, but not in net. Last season he was in net for the Caps game in Colorado but sat on the bench as backup for the game in Washington.
Looking for Firsts
Some Colorado Avalanche players are still looking for their firsts of the season. Erik Johnson is the only player who’s been in all four games who hasn’t registered a point, though he’s been extremely solid defensively. Colin Wilson and Mark Barberio have each played two games, and they don’t have a point yet.
Six other players are looking for their first goal of the season:
- Cale Makar (5 assists)
- Matt Calvert (3 assists)
- Sam Girard (2 assists)
- Matt Nieto (1 assist)
- Valeri Nuchushkin (1 assist)
- Nikita Zadorov (1 assist)
Ahem, Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon are looking for their first multi-goal game. Mikko Rantanen… is not. 😎
How to Enjoy the Game
Game time: Oct. 12, 3:00 pm MT
TV: ALT*, ESPN+ (Caps’ feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (FM 92.5/AM 950)
*The Big 3 carriers have colluded to block Altitude TV from being broadcast in the Denver Metro area. However, you can watch all road games at Brooklyn’s near the Pepsi Center.