The Colorado Avalanche continued their assault on the postseason this past week, winning in a variety of ways, to reach the final Western Conference Wild Card spot before heading to their bye week. Spoiler alert – there's a lot more good than bad in this week’s breakdown. In true pirate manner - the Avalanche be pillagin'!
1. The Avalanche won all three of the past week’s matchups, racing to a five-game win streak and a 10-3-1 record in the past 14 contests. Their 5 wins and 1 loss propelled the team to a playoff spot and ranks as the Avalanche’s second-best six-game homestand in franchise history. All five wins came against teams vying for a playoff spot with the only loss being to the lowly Arizona Coyotes. At the midpoint last year, the Avalanche earned a meager 27 points. Compare that to this year’s 47 points halfway through the season and Colorado is only one point shy of matching last year’s final point total of 48. Yes, this Avalanche team can compete with the top teams in the NHL and yes, they still need to work on consistency. Young teams learn to develop that consistency over time so keep those belts buckled as the roller coaster will race through hills, valleys, and gut-wrenching turns at breakneck speed.
2. The Avalanche defeated the division-leading Winnipeg Jets in a tension-filled overtime matchup that saw goaltender Jonathan Bernier replace Semyon Varlamov with only five minutes left in the second period. Bernier didn’t even have a chance to warm up. Defenseman and Alternate Captain Erik Johnson scored the game-winning overtime goal with only 9.9 seconds left. Yes, Johnson, on a breakaway, scored the overtime game-winner, against the Jets. It’s like Clue, only different. And people wonder if this is a different team.
3. Alternate Captain Nathan MacKinnon earned six points over the past week off two goals and four assists. The forward rocketed to second place in NHL scoring, courtesy of a five-game point streak where he earned 12 points (3 goals, 9 assists). MacKinnon’s racked up 52 points on the season at the midway point, nearly passing his 53 points for ALL of last season and has already surpassed his 16 goals from last season (currently sits at 18 goals). He is averaging 1.27 points per game. Beast mode - engaged. Look out world, Big MacK is loosed!