The Colorado Avalanche have to tighten up their play to win a very big game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Colorado Avalanche are not in an elimination scenario, obviously. However, they still face a must-win situation on Wednesday when they skate against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena.
Momentum. Never discount it. I remember the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals. The Avalanche fought a literal back-and-forth battle with the New Jersey Devils. They went up, then the Devils tied, repeat. Finally, the Devils won Game 5 and took a lead in the series for the first time. The next game was an elimination game, and they were so sure Colorado would lose.
Well, of course they didn’t lose. In fact, they took Game 6 with a resounding 4-0 victory. It was a real shutout, too, with future Hall of Famer Patrick Roy stopping 24 shots. With a victory like that on New Jersey ice, and heading to Colorado, I remember thinking that only Devils fans could be delusional enough to think their team would win.
We don’t want the Colorado Avalanche to be in that position. We don’t want them to potentially lose the next two and face elimination on Tampa ice. Because then only we Avs fans would be delusional enough to think they could take it back. And it’s all because of momentum.
Some notes on what Colorado needs to tighten up if they want to take that all-important Game 4.
Remember when we had such a vaunted defense? Well, we still do. They just took a night off in Florida. Let’s call it a lack of altitude. No, really, it’s a thing. When I’ve been at altitude consistently for a long time, I feel downright drunk when I’m at sea level. Let’s pretend that’s why they didn’t look like themselves out there Monday night.
Darcy Kuemper… very unfortunately looked like himself in Tampa Bay Monday night. Yes, he had a 16-save shutout and Game 2. And Tyson Jost once threw a hat trick. A single great game does not a great player make.
Let’s be honest, brutally honest. The Colorado Avalanche are winning games in spite of Darcy Kuemper. I’ve seen fans ranting all over comments and social media that they never want to see Kuemper, a pending free agent, in the Avs’ crease again. I have to agree. Let’s ride or die with Pavel Francouz.
I was guilty of being flippant after the dominant Game 2 rout by the Colorado Avalanche. I pretended it was no big deal that one of our superstars, Nathan MacKinnon, hadn’t scored yet in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Well, as the TSN announcers pointed out, it’s NBD when a star doesn’t score… until your team loses. Well, that’s happened. And, yes, it was the defense’s fault for not preventing the shots getting to their goalies.
But one of our best scorers has got to get on the scoreboard with some goals and fast. The likes of Joe Sakic, Rob Blake, and Alex Tanguay were on the goals sheets most nights in the 2001 Finals. The nights none of them were on that scoresheet usually were the ones they lost.
Cale Makar has won the Norris Trophy!!!!!!! I mean, we all knew he deserved it. However, the case was made that Roman Josi had more points and was playing on an inferior team. Makar was clearly the better all-around defensemen, though.
The league ever has a bias against Colorado, so I genuinely worried Makar would be overlooked like MacKinnon was in those years. Well, no. He rightfully won the Norris Trophy.
Here’s our new co-expert, Graham Tiedke’s write-up on the Trophy win:
And, in case you’d like some effusive praise:
We all know Cale Makar has his sights set on a different trophy, Lord Stanley’s Cup, of course. But it is such an honor and a privilege to have him on our team.
Game 4 starts tonight in Tampa Bay at 6PM MT. There are watch parties all over Denver and the surrounding areas. Let’s get so loud the Colorado Avalanche hear us all the way out in Tampa and take this all-important game.