The Colorado Avalanche need to reverse their current slump so they go into the playoffs with the right momentum.
The Colorado Avalanche clinched the Central Division title a week ago against the Carolina Hurricanes. Indeed, they also clinched the Western Conference title with the same game. What’s more, Cale Makar is having a record season.
So, naturally, many Avs fans don’t see this current three-game slump as problematic. Many of them don’t even see losing three games in a row as a slump. And they may well be right.
However, the truth is that there is very little separating the top teams from the bottom. The line of distinction is razer thin between the Florida Panthers (120 points) and the Montreal Canadiens (51 points), the literal 69 points notwithstanding. Both teams are manned by the most elite hockey players in the world — young men (yes even the “veteran” 30-somethings) in their prime shape in the prime of their lives. These men have worked untold hours their whole lives to get where they are.
Any team can win on any given night regardless of their standings. And a team well out of the playoffs can still play spoiler.
As of right now, the only “spoil” that can affect the Colorado Avalanche’s playoff chances is whether they get to play the Stanley Cup Finals on home-ice advantage or not. They’ve already secured home ice through the first three rounds.
However, what’s really at stake is how far into the playoffs they get to enjoy that boon. There are four games left against teams the Avalanche could potentially run into during the playoffs. Naturally, the team wants to set the stage for winning.
They want to win. They want to cement the good habits that got them to their lofty point. You only have to look at the first goal the Seattle Kraken scored, in which forward J.T. Compher and goalie Pavel Francouz treated the puck like it was the proverbial hot potato that neither wanted to touch. In that play — or lack of play — you see how quickly bad habits really can creep into even the best players’ game.
But it’s also about having — wait for it — a Stanley Cup attitude. That’s right, I went there. But it really is about going into Game 1 of Round 1 ready to march to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. And it’s a long, grueling march in which you have to dig deeper than you imagined possible to get to that end. Your will, your desire has to be greater than the opponent players’ will and desire.
Is that the will, the desire, the attitude the team is putting forth right now? That’s not what I saw in the last three games.
Want your voice heard? Join the Mile High Sticking team!
The Colorado Avalanche have four games to turn this slump around so that they go into the playoffs on a winning streak. The standings don’t require such a turnaround. But that intangible quality that separates elite players from Stanley Cup champions demands exactly that.