On the back of three straight victories the Colorado Avalanche have begun the long arduous process of climbing back into the Western playoff picture. With yesterday's win over the Stars and Minnnesota's loss to the Chicago, the Avalanche climbed past Dallas to 10th in the West and took control of Minnesota (they can't catch up with games in hand). As of this morning the Avalanche sit:
- 3 points back of 9th place Calgary (with 1 game in hand)
- 4 points back of Wildcard Los Angeles (0 games in hand)
- 6 points back of Wildcard Winnipeg (with 1 game in hand)
- 5 points back of San Jose (with 1 game in hand)
- 5 points back of Vancouver (with -2 games in hand)
The Capitals (22-11-8) sit 7th in the Eastern Conference and have climbed their way back into the hunt, going 7-1-2 in their last 10 games. The key for the Avalanche (18-16-8) will be shutting down Washington's dynamic duo of Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, so far this year they have a combined 34 goals and 77 points. After those two and defenseman John Carlson, the Capitals scoring thins out considerably. Essentially: shut down the big guns, score three, and go home with a win. Last time these teams met Ovechkin and Backstrom were dynamic, each leaving the Pepsi Center with 1 goal and 1 assist. Despite Ovechkin's late 3rd period game-winner, the Capitals "player of the game" was undoubtably Reto Berra, who let in 2 highly suspect goals and a third that was also not great. The Avalanche outplayed and outshot the Capitals that night, but couldn't overcome bad goaltending to get the two points. Tonight with Semyon Varlamov in net against his former team, goaltending should be no excuse. The Avalanche need two points tonight, time to go and get them.
Alex Tanguay - Ryan O`Reilly - Jarome Iginla
Max Talbot - John Mitchell - Nathan MacKinnon
Gabriel Landeskog - Matt Duchene - Borna Rendulic
Cody McLeod - Marc Andre Cliche - Daniel Briere
Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson
Nate Guenin - Tyson Barrie
Brad Stuart - Nick Holden
Scratches: Zach Redmond
- Nick Holden will play in his 100th career NHL game tonight.
- Borna Rendulic registered his first career assist against Dallas.
- Nate Guenin has a 2 game assist streak
- With his next goal, Jarome Iginla will catch Mike Bossy as the 20th highest goal scorer in the history of the National Hockey League. Regardless of anything else going on this season, that is really, really freaking cool. He also sits 6 points back of Dino Ciccarelli for 46th in all time scoring.
- Daniel Briere needs 5 points to reach 700 in his career.
- Cody McLeod needs 3 points to reach 100 in his career.
Avalanche Hot List:
- Erik Johnson is a ridiculous human being with 8 goals in his last 13 games. We'll leave it at that.
Puck Drops at the Verizon Center at 7:00 PM EST/5:00 PM MST on Altitude TV