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Game 49: Predators At Avalanche, Preview And Open Thread

I could talk about injuries, or Peter Forsberg, or injuries to Peter Forsberg, but I'm tired of all that stuff.  Instead, I want to talk about the playoffs.

The playoffs?!

Yes, the playoffs.

Right now, the Avs are sitting pretty in sixth place in the Western Conference, four points above ninth place (currently a three-way tie) and super-close to the Northwest Division lead (instant third place, at worst).  Colorado's overall record of 26-18-4 is strong.  The team has been competitive against their divisional rivals and their conference rivals most of the season.  Not as good as they have been against the Eastern Conference, but still pretty good.  

James Mirtle made a cool post yesterday about what it will take for each team in the league to reach that magical plateau of 95 points (or 90, if you're in the suck-ass East) and make the playoffs.  Why 95?  Because no team in the NHL, with the exception of Colorado last season, has ever missed the playoffs with 95 points.

So what will it take to reach that plateau?  So far, the Avs are off to a good start, but they'll have to keep up the pace if they expect to regain their rightful place in the post-season.  They currently have 56 points with 34 games left to play.  In order to reach 95 points, the Avs must go 19-14-1 the rest of the season.  Of course, surpassing 95 points would be ideal, so they don't necessarily have to win 19 games.  18-11-5 (97 points total) would work just fine, for example.  

The possible records the Avs can have over the remaining 34 games of this season to reach 95 points safely are as follows:


You get the idea.  The most important single number the Avs must worry about for the rest of the season is five.  If they want to reach 95 points and conceivably make the playoffs, the Colorado Avalanche can't lose fewer than five games less than the number of games they win.  

Of course, if every other team in the Western Conference starts to tank for some reason, and everybody below sixth place starts losing like crazy, it's conceivable that it wouldn't take 95 points to make the playoffs.  But it's never happened before, and last year it took 96.

So the Avs have their work cut out for them.  The Nashville Predators, who they face tonight, are one of the three teams tied for ninth place with 52 points.  Losing to the Preds would put Colorado that much closer to being out of contention.  Winning would widen the gap between them and at least one team currently "under the line."

The game starts at 7:00 PM Mountain time, 9:00 PM Eastern.  Let's get some goals!