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Colorado Avalanche Game Day: Two big points

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Only three games left until the playoffs begin

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Just like last season, it looks like the Colorado Avalanche are going to make their fans sweat things out until the final game of the season.

The team currently sits two points up on the Arizona Coyotes for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Both have three games remaining with the Coyotes hosting the LA Kings tonight.

These two teams have split the season series so far with the road team winning each game. Let’s hope that trend comes to an end tonight.


Colorado Avalanche

It looked as though the Avs forgot when last night’s game started. They were absolutely dominated in the opening period and if it weren’t for some tremendous play from Philipp Grubauer, the game could have been lost by the first intermission.

The team was able to regroup and Alex Kerfoot scored a late goal to send the game into overtime - grabbing a crucial point in the playoff race. The goal helped redeem the line of MacKinnon, Kerfoot and Compher as they were dominated at even strength most of the night.

With a goal and an assist last night, Gabriel Landeskog looks to be back up to full speed. With Mikko Rantanen out, the Captain is going to need to carry a big load over the final few games of the season and it looks like he’s up to the task.

Forwards

Alexander Kerfoot - Nathan MacKinnon - J.T. Compher

Gabriel Landeskog - Carl Soderberg - Colin Wilson

Matt Nieto - Tyson Jost - Matt Calvert

Gabriel Bourque - Derick Brassard - Sven Andrighetto

Defense

Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson

Ian Cole - Tyson Barrie

Nikita Zadorov - Patrik Nemeth


Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers were officially eliminated from playoff contention last night - news that didn’t sit well with Connor McDavid.

Imagine having two 100+ point superstars - one of which is the best hockey player in the world - and still being as bad as the Oilers are.

There is a lot of ugliness around the Oilers organization, but with McDavid and Leon Draisaitl around, it might not be as hard to turn around as some think. It’s another lost year in Edmonton so hopefully that Avs can take advantage of it one last time.

Forwards

Leon Draisaitl - Connor McDavid - Zack Kassian

Ty Rattie - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Alex Chiasson

Milan Lucic - Colby Cave - Sam Gagner

Joseph Gambardella - Brad Malone - Josh Currie

Defense

Andrej Sekera - Matt Benning

Oscar Klefbom - Adam Larsson

Darnell Nurse - Kris Russell


Starting Goalies

Mikko Koskinen was in net for the Oilers in Vegas last night. He has been playing a ton lately but since the team is now eliminated from playoff contention it’s safe to assume he’ll get the night off. That means we are likely to see Anthony Stolarz in Edmonton’s net. It would be his first start since March 9th.

If Semyon Varlamov is going to see the net again this season, it would likely be tonight - unless somehow the Avs have clinched a playoff spot going into the final game of the season. He was in net when the Avs beat the Oilers back in November so coach Bednar might turn to the veteran on the second leg of the back to back.

That said, something tells me we’ll see Philipp Grubauer again tonight. It would be a huge work load for Grubauer if the team were to ride him out, but right now he gives the Avs the best opportunity to win. He stole a point in St. Louis last night so we’re likely to see him between the pipes again tonight.

This may be hard to accept, but tonight all Avs fans need to cheer for the Kings. A win for LA means the Senators clinch 31st place and the best odds in the draft lottery. More importantly, the Kings are playing Arizona meaning a win would help Colorado’s quest for the postseason.