As we’re only one day away from the start of the season for the Colorado Avalanche and the first games of the NHL season dropping the puck later on Tuesday, it’s time to go over the last division in this series preview. And of course, what other division could be besides our own: The good ol’ Central.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars
Disregarding preseason, the Avs and Stars always play close and competitive games. The last one game back on April 1 at Ball Arena, where the Avs managed to pull away to a 5-2 victory.
Dallas is likely Colorado’s toughest competition when it comes to competing for the top of the division. They only lost out by one point last season, and it took a very depleted Avs team winning in the final minute in their final regular season game against another team on this list to get it done.
With moves made by the Stars, they’ll be looking to overthrow the Avalanche with their kryptonite: Matt Duchene, Joe Pavelski, and more on the roster. They’ll get the chance to do so four times this season: In Dallas on November 18 and January 4 and in Denver on February 27 and April 7.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild
The Avs and Wild also play some historically good games as rivals do. The last one happened in Ball Arena, where the Wild actually upset the Avs at home in a 4-2 win on March 29.
Minnesota is an interesting team to watch, as they look to have another surprisingly good season like the last. But can they do it with an aging core, in particular a much more subpar Marc-Andre Fleury? We’ll see what they’re made of in the Twin Cities on November 24 and April 4, and in the Mile High City on March 8 and April 9.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Winnipeg Jets
Colorado played host to the Jets in their home regular-season finale last season on April 13. Luckily for Avs fans on their fan appreciation day, they got to appreciate a 4-2 win over Winnipeg.
Winnipeg just barely made the playoffs last season after looking like a real threat to win the entire division. But with news just coming out about extensions to their star players Mark Schiefele and Connor Hellebuyck, they could continue competing going forward. They’ll play the Avs only three times, in Denver twice on December 7 and April 13, and in Winnipeg on December 16.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Nashville Predators
Colorado and Nashville played to the dramatics last season in their regular-season finale. At Bridgestone Arena, it took a Nathan MacKinnon last-minute hat-trick goal to give the Avs a 4-3 win to win the Central Division.
The Preds now have new leadership, with the arrival of Barry Trotz to the organization as general manager. He is already making moves, trying to get Nashville back into the playoffs. It’ll be a tough stretch though in their three games against the Avs, starting November 20 and March 2 in the Music City, and in Denver on March 30.
Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues
The Avs and Blues are not the same as they once were, especially in those competitive games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2022. This is only exemplified further in their last game, where the Blues were beaten handily by the Avalanche 4-1 in their own building back on February 18.
The Blues continue to have major losses within their organization, and just aren’t the same after being knocked out by the Avs. Their cup window is likely shutting if not all the way yet. Can Jordan Binnington do enough to bring the Blues back into the playoff picture this season? He’ll have to prove it on November 1 and 11 in Colorado, and on December 29 and March 19 in St. Louis.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Arizona Coyotes
The Coyotes always seem to manage to be pesky against the Avalanche. Despite their peskiness, they couldn’t beat the Avs last time out in Mullett Arena as Colorado squeaked by 4-3 in a shootout win on March 26.
Arizona is on the minds of many as a potential underdog in the Central Division with an outside chance of making the playoffs. With Logan Cooley now in the team, and a strong home record at the Mullett, who knows? Regardless, they’ll look to continue creating problems against the Avs in the desert on November 30 and December 27, and at Ball Arena on December 23 and February 18.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Finally, the Avs and Hawks will continue to battle at opposite ends of the standings as they have the previous seasons. Results might look similar to their last game despite a new piece to the puzzle against one another, where Colorado shut out Chicago 5-0 on March 20.
This new piece to the puzzle is none other than Connor Bedard. Bedard has impressed so far in the preseason with his filthy moves, but only scored one goal - which was an empty netter. Can he find a way to blaze past Cale Makar and Devon Toews? It will be fun to watch them go head-to-head on the Avalanche’s home opener on October 19 and March 4 and at the United Center on December 19 and February 29.