I wasn't entirely sure what I would find by doing this, but I decided to pull information on the remaining games for our closest competitors in the playoff race. I left Minnesota, Anaheim, and Phoenix out of this. At the time of writing, the five teams considered are all within five points of the Avs in the standings. The considered teams, ranked 6th through 11th in the Western Conference, are Calgary, LA, Colorado, Dallas, San Jose, and Chicago.
The goal here was to determine how many "guaranteed loss" games there are. That is, how many games will guarantee that the Avs lose some ground in the standings. Any time that Dallas plays against LA, we are guaranteed to lose 2 points of ground against one team, and possibly lose Bettman point against the other as well.
I don't know what information I can get from this, but I thought that it might be a useful reference for others to look at. The number in brackets below takes care of the tricky arithmetic.
Avalanche (3): 2 against Calgary; 1 against San Jose
Kings (5): 1 against Calgary; 3 against San Jose; 1 against Chicago
Stars (7): 3 against Calgary; 3 against San Jose; 1 against Chicago
Sharks (8): 1 against Calgary; 1 against Colorado; 3 against LA; 3 against Dallas
Flames (7): 3 against Dallas; 1 against San Jose; 1 against LA; 2 against Colorado
Blackhawks (2): 1 against LA; 1 against Dallas
Chicago has the fewest games against our pack with only two. San Jose has the most with eight. Excluding games against Colorado, both San Jose and Dallas have seven games against the pack while LA and Calgary each have five.
Colorado faces off against pack teams three more times this season. The average number of in-pack games is 5.8 per team.
I have no idea. I am curious to see what others think of this information. What can we make of San Jose and Dallas having so many remaining games within the pack? How about Chicago and Colorado having so few?
It seems, to me, that this means San Jose has more of an opportunity to control its own playoffs destiny. Chicago and Colorado will have fewer opportunities to gain ground directly against the group.
One number that may be important is the number of games within the pack of which Colorado is not a part. There are 13 games within the group where Colorado will be guaranteed to lose ground against one team or another. Colorado is guaranteed to lose between 26 and 39 points of ground overall. This does not suggest that Colorado needs 26 more points at a minimum to make the playoffs, but it does guarantee that there are 26 unavoidable points which will directly impact Colorado's placement in the standings.