For all their skill and quality, many have rightfully questioned whether the Colorado Avalanche have the right mentality to be winners. Do they have the leaders, drive, determination and sheer willingness to win at all costs in them?
During their 4-3 overtime win against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night, they showed us the answer was yes. Losing Nathan MacKinnon early, going ahead but then finding themselves 3-1 down after some poor discipline and still being down by the same score with less than 10 minutes to go, the Avalanche still found a way to win the hockey game.
Last season, the season before that and for the past few years, the Avalanche would have lost that hockey game without a doubt. I’ll be perfectly honest and say I didn’t believe they’d win that game with 10 minutes to go, and I’m sure a number of other fans thought the same, both watching from home and being inside Ball Arena.
However, the team proved a point. They got the job done, took home two points, and of course, continued their home win streak, which now stands at 17 games.
Avalanche Led by Core Members of the Roster
For many years, MacKinnon has been looked to when the team needed a spark. The fact is, they didn’t have him in this one but still found a spark from somewhere. Captain Gabriel Landeskog showed why the Avalanche re-signed him in the summer. He is an incredibly important member of the leadership group and one that has the character to lift a Stanley Cup. Who else but Landeskog, flying in at the back door to send the game to overtime with a perfectly placed shot past Linus Ullmark, who to his credit, played exceptionally well all game.
Next, the Avalanche went to overtime and on the power play. Up stepped Cale Makar, playing over 30 minutes in the game and finding the winner to send Ball Arena into raptures. Makar is at his best when full of confidence and the Avalanche are dominating the game. They weren’t here, but he came up clutch again with yet another game-winner.
Still in his youth, Makar is already tied for 27th overall in game-winning goals for the franchise, and it won’t be long before he is much higher. Not only does Makar score a lot of goals from the blue line, but he scores important goals. And as we are now seeing time and time again, he comes up big when the team needs him.
Avalanche Have Character To Go With Skill
Struggling to get past the second round of the playoffs and beaten by the Vegas Golden Knights at that stage last season, the questions surrounding the Avalanche and their team character have been fair. They now seem to have that under control, and there is no doubt about the skill this team has.
Related: Avalanche’s Cale Makar is the NHL’s Best Defenseman
From winning streaks to winning from behind and showing character to win without their star man, the Avalanche have done it all in recent weeks. They spent the first part of the season struggling with injuries but have certainly spent the most recent part of the season answering a lot of questions that both fans and hockey analysts have asked of them, either this season or in the past.
In the short term, they have another injury to contend with, as MacKinnon left the game with a facial injury in the first period. This will again test the character of the team, but fans will feel more comfortable about this than they would have done at the start of the season.
Of course, there is still one question that remains – can this team do everything above in the postseason? Only time will tell on that. But in terms of what we are seeing this season, the Avalanche are answering questions about their character better than they have ever done in the past. And that is certainly a reason to get excited as a fan of the team.