The Colorado Avalanche need to win their first outdoor game, tonight’s Stadium Series game against the LA Kings.
The Colorado Avalanche’s Stadium Series game day has finally arrived! Tonight they’ll host the LA Kings at Air Force Academy.
Now, there’s been a lot of buzz about the game, and rightfully so. Fans like to claim there have been too many outdoor games until their team is in one. Well, ours is.
As novel as outdoor hockey is for a lot of us, our superstar, Nathan MacKinnon, has a good point:
"“This is fun, but we still need to win tomorrow, it still counts.”"
Tonight’s game isn’t an exhibition game. It may have all the fanfare of a special game, but on the standings sheet, it will be the same as any other game.
And the Colorado Avalanche need to win this game. Sure, they’re fine in the standings, but their goal is to beat St. Louis for Best in the West.
Indeed, MacKinnon touches on that, too, saying it’s weird to have such a loose atmosphere so late in the season:
"“It’s such an important time. Obviously we have a team to chase and a team right behind us.”"
The hulabaloo surrounding tonight’s game may be radically different, but it’s a mid-February game. That’s important for teams chasing playoff spots. At the time of writing, the Avalanche were two points behind St. Louis and one point ahead of Dallas with a game in hand for both of them.
They have more regulation wins and regulation-overtime wins than either of them. So, if they can get their points squared away, they’ll lead in the Central Division, which puts them in the lead for the Western Conference.
Ignore the Hype
The hardest part of today might be for the players to ignore the hype. There will be a whole circus around them. The vast majority will probably have family visiting from out of town.
And they’re certainly not used to up to 40,000 fans watching them.
Many of the players are familiar with outdoor games. Nonetheless, a calming of the nerves will be important for them.
Beyond the specialty of this game, the Colorado Avalanche need to focus on the usual. One of them is special teams.
I don’t want to beat this into the ground, but the Avs failed to score on a full minute of 5-on-3 in the game against Washington. When a high-octane team like Colorado can’t score with a two-man advantage, that’s a problem.
They’re currently dead middle, #16, for power play conversion.
The penalty kill hasn’t been a treat either. They’ve been taking a lot of penalties and letting in a lot of power play goals. They’re bottom third on the penalty kill — #20.
It would be nice to see an improvement in both tonight.
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The other constant focus is to play a 60-minute game consisting of three 20-minute periods. They haven’t been doing that recently.
It’s likely the Avalanche will take a lead against the LA Kings, maybe even fairly early. They have to keep wind in their sails, though, to keep moving forward toward a win.
How to Enjoy the Game
Game Time: Feb. 15, 6:00 pm MT
TV: NBC, SN360, TVAS2
Radio: Altitude Radio (FM 92.5/AM 950)
The pregame Fan Fest will run start at 1:00 pm. The doors to Falcon Field open at 4:00 pm. Check here for restrictions for entrance into the game. Also, plan to leave early to avoid as much traffic between Denver and Colorado Springs as possible.