The Colorado Avalanche are gearing up for what’s hopefully going to be a long playoff run.
The Colorado Avalanche clinched a playoff berth a while back. At the time, though, the team was up-and-down with their play. In fact, they had a three-game losing streak for the first time this season around that time.
Since then, though, the Avalanche have been powering up. It started with a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks. It was Philipp Grubauer‘s first game back after going through the COVID protocol, and we were all happy to welcome him back. And he was happy to welcome himself back with a shutout on home ice.
The Avs handled the Sharks two more times, once again in Ball Arena and once in San Jose’s arena. The Avalanche are in California for an extended stay as they face San Jose again tomorrow night and then a back-to-back in LA on Friday and Saturday. They’ll head to Vegas for a game before finishing off the season against LA at home.
No team is easy to beat, but some are easier than others. San Jose and LA aren’t making the playoffs. Colorado is battling with Vegas for top of the West, on the other hand.
Nonetheless, six out of the seven remaining games are against teams who aren’t making the playoffs. That fact gives the Avs the opportunity to gain some momentum at just the perfect time — going into the playoffs. They appear to be doing just that.
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We don’t know exactly when the playoffs will begin. Because of the COVID protocols, the regular-season schedule has been extended until May 19. I was about to type “Obviously the regular season needs to end before we start the playoffs,” but last year put paid to that.
Indeed, three players are on the NHL COVID list. And, unfortunately, one of them is an erstwhile Avs player — Devan Dubnyk. We didn’t get long to know ye, Dubs. (No telling when he’ll be off the list. We don’t know if he tested positive or is in the protocol for contact tracing.)
In any case, with Colorado having good positioning going into the post season, whenever that may be, they have a good opportunity here. Perhaps in one of the back-to-back games, or one of the final games of the season, they’ll allow some of the stars to rest. I don’t see Nathan MacKinnon pulling a Sid Crosby and sitting out. However, maybe one of the other stars is a little banged up and wouldn’t mind a night of healing.
Resting the stars gives Colorado the leverage to test more of their young talent. In fact, the team recalled Alex Newhook to the taxi squad. He’s set to make his debut at some point during the five-game roadie. After watching him at prospect development camp a couple years ago, I’m excited to see him in action.
The Colorado Avalanche are heavy favorites to win it all this year. You still have to play the games, though. Luckily, they’re getting hot at just the right time.