The Colorado Avalanche are in for an amazing finish with playoff action to follow, or a very disappointing end by just missing out. It’s either or, quite simple.
The wild-card race in the Western Conference has become a two-horse one. A race between rivals, Colorado and the Minnesota Wild.
Both teams do not care for one another in the least, and that makes this final stretch even more mouth-watering.
There’s a possibility this turns into a three-horse race with the Nashville Predators only 8 points ahead of the Avalanche, with two more games to be played between them. However, they also have one game in hand on the Avs.
So let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, right now it’s all about the Avalanche and Wild.
ROW’s are King
After the latest results for each team, they are now tied at 72 points.
With this race so tight at the moment, ROW’s(regulation/overtime wins), which is the first tie-breaker, could very well determine the fate of both teams if knotted up at the finish line.
Currently the Wild have one game in hand on the Avalanche. Colorado, however, have one ROW more than Minnesota.
One team and it’s fan base is inevitably going to be torn to shreds on the inside. That’s how close this race is, and how competitive this rivalry has become.
Colorado’s Key Factors
With one more game remaining between the two sides(how big is that game going to be!), both can be optimistic about their chances of making the post-season.
There are several key factors for the Avalanche to beat out the Wild and get into the playoffs. Most of it rides on their new forward structure and netminder Semyon Varlamov.
Colorado was active during the summer, regular season, and trade deadline, adding key pieces to this new look Avalanche team.
Those additions by Joe Sakic, Patrick Roy, and company include Francois Beauchemin, Andrew Bodnarchuk, Mikkel Boedker, Blake Comeau, Eric Gelinas, Mikhail Grigorenko, Shawn Matthias, Carl Soderberg, and Jack Skille.
That’s a lot of turnover, and not even a complete list as prospects and other players are applying their trade in the AHL or elsewhere. Though they are finally coming together.
Varlamov hasn’t played like himself of late, but his last win versus Arizona showed us he just might be back. Roy stated that if the Avs are going to make the playoffs, Varlamov will be a big reason why, giving the Russian goalie a boost in confidence knowing the coach has his back.
If Varly is on top of his game, along with Colorado’s new forward depth, they will be a tough match-up for anyone.
Those moves and acquisitions have absolutely made Colorado a better team. A deeper team that can make the playoffs and make some noise at the same time.
Buckle up. This is what it’s all about.
Sebastian Noble is currently in his third year with The Hockey Writers covering the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers. Liverpool, England, and of course Colorado Avalanche & Florida Panthers supporter. You can follow him on Twitter @SebastianHNoble