Colorado Can Win Series. Will They?

EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 31: Esa Lindell #23 of the Dallas Stars checks Cale Makar #8 of the Colorado Avalanche in Game Five of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 31, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 31: Esa Lindell #23 of the Dallas Stars checks Cale Makar #8 of the Colorado Avalanche in Game Five of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on August 31, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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The Colorado Avalanche can win their series against the Dallas Stars. It’s up to them to find the girt to do so.

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The Colorado Avalanche are a better team than the Dallas Stars. This current series seems to suggest otherwise, granted. They went down 2-0 and were facing elimination on Monday. However, they are the better team.

Colorado is a younger team. Our superstar, Nathan MacKinnon, just had a birthday on Tuesday. Despite the fact that he’s completing the seventh year of his NHL career, he’s still only 25 years old. Our super rookie, Cale Makar, is 21. The Avs have a few veterans, but for the most part they’re comprised of youth.

The Stars are more on the veteran side of the equation. They have youth in their team no doubt, but their star Tyler Seguin is 28 and their captain Jamie Benn is 31 (ours is 28). Colorado simply has fresher legs than Dallas.

Those fresh legs make the Avalanche an extraordinarily speedy team. Actually, they’re purposely built for speed. Indeed, yesterday’s game even featured Eagle Logan O’Connor, and I couldn’t stop marveling at his speed. And he’s a journeyman!

Unfortunately, the Stars answer the speed with grit. They are a gritty team. And when it comes to Jamie Benn, they’re a downright dirty team. He took out our captain of the defense, Erik Johnson, with a very dirty hit that was clearly aimed at our blueliner’s knee. He’s been truly awful.

The Avalanche don’t like to play the grit game as much. They’ll play physical, but they just don’t go for the dirt. They know they want to stay out of the penalty box.

That’s not to say they don’t have gritty players — Ian Cole comes to mind, and we all know Nikita Zadorov won’t shy away from a big hit. It’s just that neither of those players is good at choosing his time right. They too often end up in the penalty box for their gritty play. They don’t walk that fine line the way Benn does.

You know who’s good at walking that line? Matt Calvert. Unfortunately, Calvert can’t seem to stay in games. He took warmups before Game 1 of this series, and he’s been absent ever since. He’s been deemed “unfit to play,” and none of us can figure out why.

That has been a killer in this series. Calvert isn’t going to be your hero goal scorer, but his peskiness has been missed in this series.

Nonetheless, the Avalanche are still the better team. Because of that fact, they still have it in them to win the series. Teams rarely do when they’ve gone down first 2-0 and 3-1, but it’s not unheard of. The LA Kings did so one year they won the Stanley Cup. They lost three straight in the first round then came back with four wins to take the series — and eventually the Cup.

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The Colorado Avalanche can win this series. Will they? That depends on how dirty they’re willing to get.

I’m hoping dirty enough to make Jamie Benn cry. That is one unlikable man.

Anyway, the Avalanche will have a chance to prove their mettle on Wednesday in Game 6 of the second round series.