As I write this, the Colorado Avalanche sit sixth in the Central Division, two points back of the Minnesota Wild for the final Wildcard playoff position. Their competition for that spot appears to be Minny, Anaheim, St. Louis, and Los Angeles. With 25 games to go, what does the Avs schedule look like as they make their push, and how does it compare to their competition?
Number of back-to-backs remaining
St. Louis: 5
Good news for the Avs here - they (and Anaheim) have gotten most of their back-to-backs out of the way early. The others will be forced to play tired (and likely in front of a backup goalie) more often. Given the struggles of Jake Allen, this may disadvantage St. Louis the most; the backups of LA and Minnesota have respectable .934 and .914 save percentages, respectively.
Games remaining against teams in playoff position
St. Louis: 10
Less good news here. All the jockeying teams have similar splits between playoff/non-playoff opponents moving forward. Slightly more games for Colorado and LA, but given the lack of true “elite” teams in playoff positions I don't think an extra 2 games against a Minny or a Calgary should be cause for concern. But on the other end of the spectrum...
Games remaining against bottom-feeders*
St. Louis: 2
*Arizona, Buffalo, Ottawa, or Vancouver
Not a huge advantage for anybody here either, but given that these games are expected to be 2 points in the bank, every game counts. Anaheim gets a nice little advantage, while St. Louis gets less freebies.
Games remaining against each other
St. Louis: 5
This could be interpreted either as an advantage or a disadvantage for the Avs, but I’ll say advantage because these games are the best opportunities to leapfrog each other (but also to be left behind…).
So, how do you think the Avs will stack up as they enter the final stretch? Are playoffs really within grasp?