Avalanche Give Fans a Taste Of The Future


Avalanche players celebrate following their victory against the Blues on April 7th (Courtesy of NBC Sports)

Brendan Jordan, Sports Editor

The Colorado Avalanche came into their 2018 season with one thing on their minds: prove everyone wrong.

The expectations for the Colorado Avalanche were at an all time low following their disastrous 2016-17 season. The team finished dead last in the NHL and were 20 points away from the team seeded right above them. Saying that the team was terrible is quite an understatement. However, general manager Joe Sakic put on his work gloves and cracked down on the Avalanche roster over the summer, putting together the youngest team in the NHL.

The Avalanche had high expectations coming into this year, with their sights set on a playoff appearance.

“The NHL is a league of parody, and I think things can change really quickly,” said Avalanche assistant captain Nathan MacKinnon. “We want to make the playoffs [this year].”

They started the season a little shaky, as star forward Matt Duchene was still the center of attention, still on the roster and trade talks seeming almost non-existent. Following the trade that took place on Nov. 5, the Avalanche exploded. MacKinnon took over the team and led them in points, with his linemates Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen by his side the entire way.

Although battling injuries of starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov, defensemen Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie, as well as backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier, the Avalanche could not be slowed down. Between Dec. 29 through Jan. 22, the Avalanche did not lose a game, going on a 10-game winning streak and tying the franchise record for consecutive wins. Unfortunately, that win streak didn’t do much for the Avs standing-wise, as the Central Division is arguably the most skilled division in the NHL. The Avalanche battled hard, but their playoff hopes would be determined by the last game game of the regular season against Central division rival, the St. Louis Blues. The Avalanche came into their final game on April 7 with determination to make the playoffs.

“We’re going to make it. It’s already a plan in our heads,” said captain Landeskog.

The Avalanche walked all over the Blues, winning the game by a score of 5-2 and advancing to the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Avalanche would face the President’s Trophy winners, the best team in the NHL, the Nashville Predators. The odds were heavily in the Predators favor, as they seemed to be the best team going into the playoffs.

The Avalanche, playing their first two games in Nashville, were able to prove to everyone in the NHL that they were a very skilled team right off the bat. Like previously stated, everybody believed that the Predators would run away with the series. Although the first two games were losses for the Avalanche, they put up a tough fight in both games and made a statement on their season, showing that they would not back down.

They returned home on April 16 with the home crowd behind them. The Avalanche were determined to take down the Predators and possibly tie the series at two game a piece. They won game three in front of an electric crowd (one that I was lucky enough to be in) and showed the Predators that they would not back down lightly. Game four wasn’t as successful at home, as the Predators took control of most of the game.

The Avalanche were then faced with the struggle of having to win on the road. Nashville was one win away from advancing to the second round, and the Avalanche weren’t content with being silenced so quickly. In one of the most exciting games of the season, Avalanche forward Sven Andrighetto scored the game winning goal with 1:28 remaining in the third period to force a game six back home in Colorado.

Unfortunately, game six didn’t go the way the Avalanche would’ve hoped, as the Predators stole the game from them, winning by a score of 5-0 and ending the season for the Colorado Avalanche.

All that I can say is that I’m extremely proud of the turnaround season that the Avalanche pulled off this year, and I’m very excited for what’s to come of this great franchise. The future is extremely bright for this young team, and I can promise everyone that we will be competitors for another Stanley Cup championship in the years to come.