Before the Avalanche take the ice tonight for their season finale against the Anaheim Ducks, they have won the Central Division and have locked up the 2nd seed in the Western Conference.
The Avalanche had a couple of different ways to lock up the division title heading into the last day of the regular season. One of them was that the Detroit Red Wings would march into St. Louis and hand the Blues their 6th straight loss, in regulation. That is what happened, and before having to play their final game of the season tonight against Anaheim, the Avs are now locked into their playoff spot.
Colorado will matchup in a 7 game series with the Minnesota Wild, a team that they have been in a division with since the Wild were brought into the league. The series will most likely start on Thursday evening this week, as the Denver Nuggets are playing at home on Wednesday night against the Golden State Warriors.
Colorado will have some time to give some of their key players a little bit of rest before heading into the 7 game series. They have had some guys get banged up the past week, including John Mitchell and Tyson Barrie. Those guys, as well as Matt Duchene and PA Parenteau, are battling through injuries that may keep them out at different points during the series.
The turnaround season continues for the Avs, as they have now cemented themselves among the top teams in the league. Throughout this season, the Avs have frequently been overlooked, being written off as a flaw as opposed to actually being as good as their record shows. But now, they have been crowned the champions of the Central Division, which is sending 5 teams to the playoffs, including 3 teams that have over 100 points (Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, and Chicago Blackhawks), and 2 teams with over 110. Only the Pacific Division can say the same thing, with the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks each having over 110 points and the Los Angeles Kings also having over 100 points.
Colorado has not had it easy this season health-wise either. Colorado has had many key players go down at different points in the season. Alex Tanguay only played in about 20 games before he had to undergo season-ending surgery. PA Parenteau has been in and out of the lineup with knee problems at different parts of the season. Paul Stastny and Gabe Landeskog have each missed some time with minor injuries as well. The biggest injury issue the Avs have faced is currently Matt Duchene, who injured his knee in a collision with teammate Jamie McGinn, and was initially supposed to miss the first round of the playoffs, yet I’m sure that he will do everything in his power to play at some point in this series.
Stay tuned for a full preview of the Avs first round series with the Minnesota Wild very soon. Here’s a video with some of the best moments from this season for the Colorado Avalanche: