April 18th, 2014 at 9:06 PM
By Corey Dunkin
If the first game of this opening round series between the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild was an accurate representation of what we can expect going forward, we're in for a fantastic series. After such a dramatic comeback victory for the Avalanche, and therefore such a devastating loss for the Wild, it is reasonable to expect a backlash from Minnesota as they will be even further motivated to take everything and give nothing in Game 2. If Colorado is to take a 2-0 lead in the series, they will have to match that intensity and play with the same desire that enabled them to rob Minnesota blind in the first contest.
Team captain Gabriel Landeskog said in a locker room press conference earlier today that the team had some jitters going into Game 1, which is to be expected considering that it was the first ever playoff game for many Avalanche players. With that out of the way, things should get back to being fairly routine at practices and in games as far as the team's focus is concerned. Read more... Join the Conversation...
April 18th, 2014 at 7:00 AM
By Corey Dunkin
Sometimes it really does feel like hockey games are scripted. If one could write a script for how Game 1 of the opening round series between the Colorado Avalanche and the Minnesota Wild would go, that script wouldn't be nearly as good as what actually happened. As they have done so many times this season, the Avalanche practically stole a victory last night. Colorado trailed Minnesota 2-4 entering the third period, but ultimately won 5-4 in overtime with the help of a few plays that can only be made by competitors with relentless determination and character.
Colorado made the score 3-4 following a careless turnover by Minnesota in their own end, and from there the Avalanche shifted into overdrive and threw all the pressure they could muster toward the Wild net. Head Coach Patrick Roy pulled his goaltender with three minutes left in regulation, earlier than most coaches would. But Roy didn't get to be the favorite to win the Jack Adams award for coach of the year by doing what most coaches would. Then, with the Colorado net empty, the Avalanche trailing by a goal with time running out, a Minnesota player scooped the puck down the ice right toward the unoccupied cage, but defenseman Erik Johnson turned on the afterburners and got back in time to sweep the puck away with only a few inches to spare. Read more... Join the Conversation...
April 16th, 2014 at 4:42 PM
By Corey Dunkin
In anticipation of the Colorado Avalanche going on a playoff run, the city of Denver is rallying behind its hockey team in a manner most official. At the capitol building downtown, Avalanche flags can be seen waving alongside the state flag, and they will remain there for as long as the Avalanche are in the playoffs. Additionally, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock proclaimed this week to be "Burgundy and Blue" week. This week, several prominent buildings downtown are decorating the skyline with burgundy and blue lights, city employees are wearing burgundy and blue apparel, several signs and streets are being illuminated burgundy and blue, and passengers at Denver International Airport are being greeted by a message from team captain Gabriel Landeskog as they ride the transport train.
There has been a resurgence of Avalanche support throughout Colorado this season. Between 2008 and 2013, when the team was struggling mightily, it felt as though interest in the team had fizzled out. Pepsi Center didn't sell out Avalanche games during that time, and it was exceedingly rare to see anyone sporting Avalanche gear. It would be fair to say that fans had been spoiled during the early years, and understandably, it was difficult to watch the team struggle in vain after the standard had been set so high. This year represents the return of Avalanche hockey as we used to know it. Read more... Join the Conversation...
April 15th, 2014 at 4:36 PM
By Corey Dunkin
At last the time has come. The book is closed on the regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs are here. And the Colorado Avalanche find themselves in a better position than anyone could have hoped for. On Thursday they will commence their opening round series against the Minnesota Wild in the third series all time between these two franchises. In both of the previous playoff meetings, one team had won the division, and the other team won the series. The Avalanche will look to put an end to that pattern.
Colorado has home ice for this series, which could prove to be critical not because of what it means for the Avalanche, but because of what it means for the Wild. Incredibly, Colorado had identical records at home and on the road this season, posting a mark of 26-11-4 both at and away from the Pepsi Center. In fact, their road record was the best in the entire league. The Avalanche play consistently well regardless of location. Minnesota, meanwhile, had one of the league's best home records, going 26-10-5, almost the same record as Colorado, but on the road they were just a .500 team, with a record of 17-17-7. The separation between Colorado and Minnesota in the standings comes down to the fact that the Avalanche are good on the road and the Wild are not. Read more... Join the Conversation...
April 13th, 2014 at 10:30 PM
By Corey Dunkin
The National Hockey League regular season concluded today, and the Colorado Avalanche have won the Central Division following a St. Louis Blues loss to the Detroit Red Wings and after earning an additional point against the Anaheim Ducks. This is Colorado's first division championship since 2003 and it is well deserved. When this season began, even the most optimistic fans were just hoping the Avalanche could find a way to get into the playoffs. Now they are Central Division champions, finishing second in the Western Conference and third overall in the entire league.
This has been the greatest single season turnaround in NHL history in terms of how much higher the team finished in league standings one year after the other. Just one year removed from finishing 29th out of the NHL's 30 teams, Colorado has finished 3rd. It has been incredible to behold. Read more... Join the Conversation...