Nine straight wins for the Colorado Avalanche.
With the team’s 3-1 win over the New York Rangers on Saturday, that’s exactly where they stand as the league hits its stride down the back half of the season.
The last time the Avalanche lost a game was December 27th, when they dropped a concerning loss to the league’s last-place team, the Arizona Coyotes (although as of Saturday night, the Coyotes - who lost 11 straight to kick off the year - have pulled dead even with the hapless Buffalo Sabres).
Now, they sit in the second Wild Card spot and just seven points out of first in the Central. It’s a long, long way from where they were at the end of last season. [Mile High Hockey]
Speaking of winning, the Denver Pioneers picked up a win of their own in their first game of the weekend against Omaha, who sit ranked #15 this year. [MHH]
We’ve also got to give a nice shout out to Erik Johnson, who thanked the fans for their tremendous support after earning first star of the game on Sunday:
No other team in the NHL is quite as hot as the Avalanche right now, and the Nathan MacKinnon line is arguably the most powerful in the league.
They’ve got a close contender in the Boston Bruins, though, with the Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergero - David Pastrnak line coming hot alongside MacKinnon, Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog.
While the Avalanche are 9-1-0 over their last 10 games, the Bruins are 7-0-3, putting them on a slightly longer point streak and skyrocketing up the standings in their own division.
Marchand has been their equivalent of MacKinnon, too. While MacK is second in scoring to only Nikita Kucherov and Marchand is tied for 16th overall, the Bruins left winger sits there with eight games in hand on the Avalanche star - and just 13 points out of the scoring lead, gaining ground by the day.
The pair are joined by Kucherov as the only three players in the league hitting 1.3 points per game or better (Marchand has 1.3 P/GP, MacKinnon has 1.31, and Kucherov has 1.33), and the three are a part of only 20 players in the league so far to boast 20 or more goals scored and counting. In the Hart race this year, expect things to get very close.
Of course, Boston’s own win on Saturday came against their old head coach, Claude Julien. His comments on Bergeron and Marchand? Nothing short of gold:
If you want to read about the girl who earned the starting gig in net for the varsity boy’s team at Malvern Collegiate Institute in Toronto, here’s your chance. [CBC]
Finally, this is the best thing I’ve seen all season. Immensely respectful tribute to one of the best: