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Game 80 Preview: Avalanche at Oilers

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Colorado Avalanche
7:30 MT / 9:30 ET / 2:30 GMT
Edmonton Oilers
43-29-7 April 7th, 2010
25-46-8
93 pts Rexall Place
58 pts
Playoffs
Edmonton, AB 15th

The Colorado Avalanche are in. The Oilers are not, but if there's any group of fans who knows better than to point and laugh, it should be us. We've been there...and rather recently, if I recall correctly. If nothing else, our Avalanche are a tremendous example that franchises can turn around in a hurry. I, for one, would much rather be competing with the Oilers in the division instead of the Canucks and Flames. So, here's hoping this year is just a temporary glitch in the matrix.

As for the Avalanche, they can still end up anywhere from 5th through 8th, as the From The Rink guys and gals have broken down for us. I'm still going to break it down here, though, mostly because I can. First, I said there was a slim chance that the Avalanche could play the Kings in the first round. That was not correct. While the Kings can still catch Phoenix for 4th, the Avs couldn't get into 5th if that happens, so LA is out. Here's what has to happen to get the Avs to each available seed:

8th

If the Avs do nothing else, they are the #8 seed. As the #8, they would play either San Jose or Chicago - the only 2 Western teams who can finish 1st overall. The Avalanche will have an impact on this race, as they play Chicago on Friday.

7th

The Avalanche are 3 points behind the Red Wings for 7th in the conference. They do hold the tiebreaker in wins so just need to tie Detroit to take over 7th. They'd still play either San Jose or Chicago (whichever ends up as the #2 seed).

6th

The Avs are 4 points behind Los Angeles, but these two teams do play each other. There's a few scenarios that have the Avalanche doing it, but a couple of LA wins will close that door. Vancouver is the #3 seed no matter what.

5th

The Avalanche need to win all 3 games to have a shot at 5th, and they'd still need a boatload of help beyond that. Interestingly, the only time any of the bottom 4 seeds play each other is the LA - Colorado game, so 3 point games won't come into consideration at all. The only possible opponent for the Avs if they make it to 6th is Phoenix. The Kings and Predators can both get into 4th, but if that happens, the Avalanche would have no chance to get there.

Realistically, the Avalanche will be the 7th or 8th seed. If the stars line up, it's a #6 seed (and a dreaded first-round against the Canucks). #5 is all but impossible, but still mathematically on the table.

The Copper & Blue

Avalanche vs Oilers coverage

Dustin has the recap keys tonight.