The Colorado Avalanche are coming home.
It was a tough, hard-fought two games at Bridgestone Arena for arguably one of the only true underdogs in the postseason this year, as the Avalanche attempted to keep up with the Nashville Predators in a series that was considered a foregone conclusion before it even began.
Playoffs can be weird; people always say they’ll be happy with just ‘x’ outcome, but then secretly wish for y, z, and everything else they can get their hands on any time they actually get the original bargain in their favor. Fans of fringe playoff teams all of a sudden want to steal a series, then want to steal another; next thing you know, nothing is acceptable but the Stanley Cup until all the alcohol has officially left our systems sometime around Mid-July.
The Avalanche have certainly given their fans a decent amount of hope, holding their own for stretches in both games one and two before ultimately dropping them both.
They should get a bit of an advantage with home ice, although Semyon Varlamov will still be out and the team is still getting their footing for the many players who are experiencing an NHL postseason for their first time.
The team has spoken a bit about the fact that they didn’t manage to get it all done, which they’re clearly unhappy with. Tracey Myers, who has done fantastic work over the years, broke it down well: the team, as with a growing number of their fans, aren’t too interested in ‘moral victories’ right now: they’d like to see that final score in their favor. [NHL.com]
Still, there is at least one moral victory to be proud of this year.
After a 48-point season, a lot of teams would have gone in one of two ways; they would have blown it all up and started over, or the team would have festered from the inside and become the Buffalo Sabres.
The Avalanche did neither; they’re in the postseason one year removed from their miserable year, and a lot of that credit goes to GM Joe Sakic. [Mile High Hockey]
Now, though, it’s time for a legitimate win. Here’s a look at how the team was used in games one and two, which should tell us what the best way to use them moving forward might be. [MHH]
Also, I have somehow been living under a rock and missed putting this in our Flurries for the last week. So here it is, for anyone else living off in La-la land like myself:
As the eldest child of an enormous Snoop Dogg Stan, this makes my heart sing.
Looking around the postseason, here are some other fun storylines you might have missed:
The New Jersey Devils finally put Cory Schneider in during an ultimately unsuccessful game two, but perhaps the most shocking thing of all wasn’t that he drew in - it was the gear he wore in doing so. For all you fellow gearheads out there, here’s the inside scoop on why a Vaughn faithful skated out in some CCM pads with little to no warning. [InGoal Magazine]
We also have to give it to the Washington Capitals: maybe they really are just this bad at playoff hockey. Maybe, legitimately, they’re never going to win a Stanley Cup.
Capitals become sixth team in NHL history to lose Games 1 and 2 in overtime at home https://t.co/daQelHJXkx— RMN (@russianmachine) April 16, 2018
Here’s a nice quote from the team’s overtime post-mortem on Sunday to sum it up:
“The Caps blew it. I don’t have a nice or elegant way to put it. Barry Trotz hamstrung his team with an inferior lineup. Brooks Orpik got caught out of position, then got out-muscled in the slot again. Tom Wilson committed a careless penalty. And Philipp Grubauer was just plain bad.
Holtby was fine in relief, Oshie was clutch, and Ovechkin was tremendous, but this was still a hideous failure, which puts it in good company among other famous Washington postseason flameouts.”
In other news, though, an official saw his knee kind of go ‘pop’ when he got tangled up with Nick Foligno, and my own joint is screaming in sympathetic pain:
Screw the stretcher, Steve Barton is skating off on one leg with some help. pic.twitter.com/XGKOYaWUZm— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) April 16, 2018
The Vegas Golden Knights really are doing this thing, huh?
Turns out what happens in Vegas....— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) April 16, 2018
also happens in LA ♂️
After going down 1-0 during the first period of game three on the road against the Los Angeles Kings, the league’s newest team waited until the third period to show that no, this was actually not going to be the point where the Kings turned it around.
They scored three in the final 20 minutes, winning the game 3-2 to go up 3-0 in the series with just one more game here in Los Angeles prior to their return to Vegas. If they don’t sweep LA in Game 4 this week, it seems pretty likely that the shockingly rabid fanbase at T-Mobile Arena will motivate them to get the job done in 5.
And, since that could mean even more pre-game Vegas theatrics, here’s a nice look at how those insane moves came to be. [Forbes]
Finally, there’s not much that has to be said about this. It’s a perfect time to take a few seconds to watch this and reflect.