Playoff race: begin. As I mentioned yesterday, almost 1/3 of the Avs' remaining games are against the 5 teams with the worst records to date this year. One of those teams is the Edmonton Oilers, who we face 3 more times including tonight. The Oilers are absolutely a beatable team - they've lost 9 of their last 11 and and have scored 2 goals or less in a whopping 9 straight games (welcome news for Semyon Varlamov, who will start against Devan Dubnyk). The Avs are 1-2 against the Oilers tomorrow which, to be honest, is absolutely fucking ridiculous - almost as ridiculous as the Avs' 2-10 record against the NW.
The Avalanche currently sit in 9th place and just 3 points separate 5 teams between 8th and 12th. All 5 of those teams are in action tonight, none against each other; this means the Avs could be anywhere between 8th and 12th when the dust settles tonight. With that in mind, I feel comfortable declaring tonight's game a Must-Win game. Please update your calendars accordingly.
Avalanche skipper Joe Sacco is looking for career win #300 and Varlamov is looking for win #15 this year, which would tie his career best. Gabriel Landeskog is looking to extend his 3-game point streak (he has zero points to date against Edmonton). And Stefan Elliott is probably looking for vitamins and fluids after turning 21 on Monday. Meanwhile, David van der Gulik has never faced the Oilers, which makes him a player to watch (if, in fact, he plays).