Tonight, the Colorado Avalanche will host the revived Toronto Maple Leafs in their second and last meeting of the season. Colorado are currently not enjoying a four-game losing streak and thus really need to dig deep tonight and get the team thinking positively again.
“I think we’ve done a good job of coming to the rink and resetting…There is only one way out of it, you have to work through it.” pic.twitter.com/fmMKTgpPO2
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) December 22, 2016
It should be a fast paced game with plenty of skill on hand but right now that cannot be said with much certainty when it comes to the Avalanche. They possess all the talent they need, at least up front, to score a lot of goals, yet are dead last in the league.
The team is missing top defenseman Erik Johnson, and will be for a while, and that has taken a significant toll on recent results and play. Though a team cannot collapse after losing one player, there must be depth and perseverance, neither has shown up.
Everything has to improve for the Avs, and we’ll certainly find out about the character of this team during these last two contests before the break.
Colorado Avalanche vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Pepsi Center – 7 p.m. MT
Broadcast channels – ALT, TSN 4
2016-17 Season Series: Second meeting of the season, Avalanche won 3 – 1 on December 11 in Toronto.
Colorado Avalanche – 11-19-1 – 23 Points
Home Record: 4-10-1
Hot Players: Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, Mikko Rantanen
Key Injuries: Erik Johnson
Gabe Landeskog – Nathan MacKinnon – Rene Bourque
Mikhail Grigorenko – Matt Duchene – Mikko Rantanen
Blake Comeau – Carl Soderberg – Jarome Iginla
Cody McLeod – John Mitchell – Joe Colborne
Fedor Tyutin – Tyson Barrie
Francois Beauchemin – Cody Goloubef
Nikita Zadorov – Patrick Wiercioch
Toronto Maple Leafs – 12-12-7 – 31 Points
Road Record: 3-6-5
Hot Players: Auston Matthews, Jake Gardiner
Key Injuries: Tyler Bozak, Ben Smith, Martin Marincin
James van Riemsdyk – Nazem Kadri – Mitchell Marner
Zach Hyman – Auston Matthews – Connor Brown
Leo Komorov – Frederik Gauthier – William Nylander
Matt Martin – Byron Froese – Nikita Soshnikov
Morgan Reilly – Nikita Zaitsev
Jake Gardiner – Connor Carrick
Matt Hunwick – Roman Polak
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] Coincidentally, the previous time these two teams met was the last game Colorado won. Semyon Varlamov had a big say in that contest, saving 51 Maple Leafs shots in the victory.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] This game will be the first of a back-to-back before the holiday break, as the Avalanche travel to take on the Chicago Blackhawks tomorrow night.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] The latest first overall pick, Auston Matthews, will be coming to Denver for the first time in his young career, and Avs fans will get a glimpse of one of the brightest players on the NHL horizon. However, not too much of a glimpse let’s hope!
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Avalanche have been on a lengthy four-game losing streak, it’s got to end at one point. What better time than right before the holiday break?
Win these last two games and suddenly you’ve got some positivity to build upon heading into the new year. That’s how the Avs should be approaching the next couple of days.
If they continue to lose, watch out for the Christmas-time rumors(which have already begun) to get ugly. No one wants that, especially during the jolly holidays.
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