There were points in the season, this very long season, where we didn’t think it would happen. But it happened, the Colorado Avalanche are heading to the postseason for the second year in a row under head coach Jared Bednar.
Last year, one of the top eight spots in the Western Conference was clinched on the last day of the season, when the Avalanche beat the St. Louis Blues to pass them in the standings on the last day. This year, the Avalanche used a 3-2 overtime victory over the Winnipeg Jets to get into the playoffs, one game earlier than last year.
Who knew an X could look so good? pic.twitter.com/CdJGUhe1LM— x- Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) April 5, 2019
For a lot of teams around the league, their game tonight is meaningless. they are locked into their position and likely already know their opponent in the first round. It’s a different story for the Avalanche. If they win tonight and the Dallas Stars lose to the Minnesota Wild, the Avs will face off against the Nashville Predators for the second straight postseason. In any other scenario, including overtime games, the Avalanche will play the Calgary Flames.
We’ll have much more on the playoffs in the coming days, but for now, how about a quick poll to gauge the feeling in the room before knowing what’s officially going to happen?
What do you want in the first round?
This poll is closed
Unproven Flames team with bad goaltending
Revenge on the Nashville Predators
With this final game of the season still carrying some meaning, it’s not likely the Avalanche will rest any players against the San Jose Sharks. With a win, the Avalanche would be able to head into the playoffs riding a 9-0-2 streak, talk about momentum.
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
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Ian Cole - Tyson Barrie
Nikita Zadorov - Patrik Nemeth
San Jose Sharks
The regular season is over for the Sharks. They are eight points back of the Calgary Flames in first and six ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights in third. They don’t have anything to play for at the moment, unless they decide to play for pride. I wouldn’t put it past the Sharks, they are heading into the postseason with a 2-7-1 record and could probably use a morale boost before 4-7 games against the Golden Knights.
Timo Meier - Logan Couture - Joe Pavelski
Evander Kane - Tomas Hertl - Gustav Nyquist
Marcus Sorensen - Joe Thornton - Kevin LeBlanc
Michael Haley - Barclay Goodrow - Melker Karlsson
Jacob Middleton - Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Tim Heed
Brenden Dillon - Justin Braun
Semyon Varlamov and Martin Jones are the projected starters tonight. Varlamov has had a very good second half of the season. His and Philipp Grubauer’s turnarounds were extremely key factors in the team making the playoffs. Having them continue their roll of strong play is going to be really important against Calgary/Nashville.
On the other side of the rink, Jones has been awful. He has a .896 save percentage this season and has looked absolutely brutal at times. The 29-year-old with five years left on his contract could have one of the worst contracts in the NHL if this keeps up. However, Jones has found a way to put up better playoff numbers than his regular season production, so there is still hope for the veteran goaltender.