Despite losing on back to back nights to the Ducks and Kings, the Colorado Avalanche still have control over whether or not they make the playoffs. With only two games remaining in their season, all the Avalanche have to do is win their remaining games in regulation and they’re in the playoffs. A pretty amazing scenario given that twelve months ago this team was completing the worst season in modern NHL history.
It’s not going to be easy. The Avalanche have to first beat the Sharks in San Jose Thursday night. The Sharks have clinched a playoff spot, but unlike many teams, they still have something to play for. After last night, the Los Angeles Kings only trails Los Angeles by two points in the race for second place in the Pacific Division.
The Avalanche are 2-0 against the Sharks this season, but those two wins came at home and we all know how different this team is away from the Pepsi Center. That probably has a lot to do with the inability for the coaches to exploit matchups on the road.
The top line has been incredibly quiet through this last road trip. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen have cooled off at the absolute worst time. Many are complaining that their lack of production this week is the main reason why the Avalanche find themselves needing two more wins. The fact of the matter is that if not for the incredible seasons both MacKinnon and Rantanen have had, Avs fans would be spending this last week watching the team’s draft lottery odds.
The big line has been quiet, but it’s hard to believe they will remain that way over the next two games.
If Colorado is able to come away from San Jose with two points, their season total will be up to 95, with nothing left except a showdown with the St. Louis Blues Saturday night.
Currently sitting at 92 points, the Blues have a home and home with the Chicago Blackhawks before coming to Denver. The Blackhawks are bad - really bad - so let’s assume the worst case scenario and four points for the Blues.
That would leave the Blues and Avs separated by a single point with one final showdown for all the marbles.
If you had offered Avalanche fans (or even players) back in September that they’d have two final games to play their way into the playoffs, they would have taken it in a second.
It will be incredibly nerve wracking, but a heck of a lot of fun.