Something To Consider: The Colorado Avalanche Are Good

NHL: APR 16 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round Game 3 - Predators at Avalanche

I’ve written plenty about the turnaround for the Colorado Avalanche this year ever since they sent Matt Duchene packing up to Ottawa. The 2016-17 Colorado Avalanche teams was one of the worst in the history of the National Hockey League. And they followed up that historically atrocious campaign by snagging the 8th seed in the Western Conference Playoffs this year, playing against the reigning Western Conference champion Nashville Predators.

Now granted, the Preds have a 2-1 lead in the series so far winning both of their games at home. But when you look at how the games actually played out, the goddamn Avs are right there. Game 1’s final was 5-2 but the game was tied 2-2 heading into the 3rd period. It was still just a 2 goal game with like 8 minutes left before the Preds eventually scored with under 2 to go to make it 5-2. Then game 2 was a 5-4 final. The only game in this series so far that was a legitimate beatdown was last night in Colorado when the Avalanche chased Pekka Rinne out from between the pipes after scoring 4 goals in the first 25 minutes of the game. Highlighted by a pair from Nathan MacKinnon.

Now the final ended up being 5-3 so Nashville scored 3 of the last 4 goals of the game. But still. The Colorado Avalanche were right there in game 1 of this series. They lose game 2 by just a goal. And then they come out in game 3 and have Pekka Rinne yanked just 5 minutes into the 2nd period. And the thing that was the most telling for me that this is actually a series instead of just a fluky win was how off their game the Preds seemed to be last night. You had PK Subban going out of his way to try to take an extra shot on MacKinnon.

The Predators took 8 penalties total last night. Now 3 of them happened to be matching minors but they still put Colorado on the powerplay 5 different times. That’s 10 minutes of playing down a man in a game where they desperately needed more time 5v5 to get back into that one. And that’s all credit to the Avalanche for being pesky enough to get in Nashville’s head while also being smart enough to stay out of the box themselves. If they win at home again on Wednesday night, all of a sudden this turns into a best-of-3 series. I know it may sound like a broken record at this point but it’s wild that a team that came in dead last in the NHL last year could potentially put the reigning Western Conference champs on upset alert after tomorrow night. Not a big deal.