AVALANCHE

The Avalanche might mess around and win their division again

Mar 14, 2024, 12:37 PM

The Colorado Avalanche have won the Central Division each of the last two seasons.

In 2021-2022 they ran away with it with 119 points. It eventually resulted in the franchise’s third Stanley Cup, after a dominant playoff run.

In 2022-2023, winning the division came down to the final game of the season. Thanks to Nathan MacKinnon’s heroics, they pulled out a victory in Nashville and barely took the crown with 109 points.

Unfortunately, they played liked a tired team in the playoffs. Battling injuries and other circumstances, they eventually fell in Round 1 to the Seattle Kraken and failed to defend their title.

And while this year has also been a roller coaster, the Avalanche might mess around and win the division yet again.

At the time of this writing, they’re in first place, tied with the Dallas Stars with 89 points. The Avs hold the tiebreaker thanks to having more regulation wins with 36. Dallas has just 29, but also plays New Jersey later on Thursday night and could jump back in front of Colorado.

Still, this is all possible thanks to a hot streak from the Avalanche, including an incredible victory on Wednesday night in Vancouver. Down 3-0, Colorado battled all the way back to win 4-3 in overtime. The played 24 hours earlier in Calgary and could’ve easily packed it in, but they didn’t.

Mikko Rantanen scored with fewer than five seconds to go in the second period to get the Avs on the board. That led to momentum into the third period, where Nathan MacKinnon would make it 3-2 and Ross Colton tied things up, 3-3.

In overtime, Colorado got yet another game-winner from Valeri Nichushkin, this one going in off the visor of his helmet. It was a quirky goal to complete the comeback, but they all count the same.

Overall, the Avs have won five straight games and seven of their last eight. They’re hitting their stride at the right time, especially after a busy trade deadline from president Joe Sakic and GM Chris MacFarland.

The Winnipeg Jets are also lurking with 87 points, but Colorado will face them at home on April 13, the third to last game of the season. That could have massive implications for the division title.

In yet another season with bumps along the way, the Avalanche are putting it all together. And that could lead to home-ice advantage for most of the playoffs and another run at a championship.

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