The Stanley Cup Champions begin their quest to back up their previous run to the Finals. We’re now back to a normal time in the NHL with no COVID restrictions and hopefully will have no COVID stoppages this time round.
While I started this series last year, it was more weird and dynamic as it had been upwards of two years since the Avs last played some teams, especially on the East Coast. It is just a bit different this time round after a year of normality. Regardless, let’s look back at the last time the Avs played those in the Metro division last year to start things off.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Carolina Hurricanes
These two sides have had some memorable games in the past couple of years. While some argued last year that this could be a Stanley Cup Final matchup, it could very well be a possible matchup once again this year.
These two faced off on April 16, 2022, in Denver which saw Ben Meyers make his debut and score his first career NHL goal in a 7-4 win. It also officially clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs just under a month before the end of the season for the Avs.
The Canes have suffered some personnel losses this offseason but still expect to be competitive. While they may play second fiddle to the next team mentioned on this list, they’ll certainly be in the hunt when the end of April 2023 rolls around. They play in Denver on November 12 and in Raleigh a few days later on November 17.
Colorado Avalanche vs. New York Rangers
New York left Denver on December 14, 2021, after being defeated 4-2 at the hands of the Avalanche. Things were close to the end until Valeri Nichushkin ended the game in the final minute with an empty net insurance goal to finish it off.
The Rangers are going to be a serious threat in the Metro and probably will be eyeing the top spot over the Canes. Of course, the Rangers were in last year’s Eastern Conference Final going toe-to-toe with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Igor Shesterkin will look to carry the team on his back and lift them up the ECF and beyond this season. With stars like Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox in front of him, the Rangers have their hopes high at Madison Square Garden and think they can make a run for the Cup themselves. The two will play on October 25 in New York and December 9 in Denver.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Washington Capitals
The Caps are the first in this series to hand the Avs a loss when they last played. It was late on in the season after the Avs clinched a spot in the playoffs, beating them 3-2 on the road on April 18, 2022, and ending the Avs’ nine-game win streak at the time.
Of course, you can’t bring up the Washington Capitals without bringing up Alexander Ovechkin. The Russian machine is eyeing Wayne Gretzky’s record of career goals scored and will continue to bite a little further towards the throne. His leadership and desire to win is something the Caps might just need to win any game of hockey.
However, the team behind him has seen some struggles and issues as of late. While they did get Darcy Kuemper from the Avs, will he be enough to give the Caps another deep playoff run? We will see when these two meet on November 19 in DC and January 24 in Denver.
Colorado Avalanche vs. New York Islanders
The Isles are a really interesting side to look at this year. General Manager Lou Lamoriello has not made any moves this offseason and has much of the same squad this year looking to rebound after a tough 2021-22 season.
These two last played on Long Island on March 7, 2022, where the Avs would up on top in a dramatic 5-4 win. It was a good way to start a three-game road trip for Colorado in the middle of the season.
The Isles had a rough time last year starting on the road, only playing at home starting in November 2021, and dealing with tons of injuries. GM Lamoriello is betting on injuries not being a serious hamper to this team to get them back in contention. These two will play on the island on October 29 and in Denver on December 19.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus is going to be a different team than when the Avs faced them on November 6, 2021. In the second of a back-to-back game with the Avs, Columbus wound up on top 4-2, taking both games of the back-to-back in what was perhaps the worst stretch of Avs hockey last season.
The big difference comes in the form of a man who many are still surprised he ended up in Ohio: Johnny Gaudreau. His ludicrous move from the Calgary Flames to Columbus over other Eastern Conference teams like the Islanders or Flyers will be exceptional for those in Buckeye country.
Columbus will look to keep the Avs’s number and win perhaps four straight against them. However, the two will be taking it overseas as they’ll play in the International Series in Finland on November 4 and 5.
Colorado Avalanche vs. New Jersey Devils
The Devils fell below the Avalanche on April 14, 2022, in Denver 3-1 in what was the middle of a nine-game win streak for the Avs. It was a bad time to be a Devils fan last year and this result did not help them.
The Devils could’ve been eyeing a possible renaissance last year after some moves from the previous offseason but it never panned out right for them. Now, they are back to square one trying to find any way to keep Jack Hughes in New Jersey despite the struggles.
This 2001 Stanley Cup Final rematch is certainly not the same as it was 21 years ago, but the Devils will look for the upset. They play at home against the Avs on October 28 and away on March 1.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Let’s face it, the Flyers are looking to be a trainwreck in the middle of a dumpster fire this year. The hiring of John Tortorella has shaken people up and his style of hockey will likely not fit well at all out there on the East Coast along with other misfits like Tony DeAngelo.
However, the last time the Avs and Flyers played it caused some drama. There was action left, right, and center both times these two played one another last year. However, the Avs won both games, most recently by the score of 6-3 on March 25 in Denver.
The Flyers will just be looking to not have the worst record in the league and maybe even set a goal of not finishing last in the Metro. It will be difficult, especially against this Avs team when they play at home on December 5 and in the Mile High City on December 13.