DENVER - It felt like a torch had finally been passed in this building, something to officially designate it a new era for the Colorado Avalanche. Not only was this feeling prevalent because the Avs went out and put an absolute beating on the Minnesota Wild, but it happened on Milan Hejduk Night. It happened with Hedgie and Foppa and Tangs in the building, with Peter Forsberg and Alex Tanguay presenting Hejduk with the actual Stanley Cup.
As much as the night was about the past, it felt just as much about the future too. This Avs team may not be ready for Prime Time, Stanley Cup glory days just yet, but progress is being made folks.
The Avs, playing without their No. 1 goalie, top-scoring defenseman and key energy forward, skated the Wild right out of the building, winning 7-2 in front of an overflow crowd of 18,046. The Avs thus go into the "bye week" winners of five straight games, and, with 47 points through the official halfway mark of the season, are just one point behind all of last season's output.
"We're not a 48-point team anymore," said Avs center Nathan MacKinnon, who blazed all over the ice throughout, finishing with a goal and two assists to climb to 52 points overall, second overall in the NHL now.