The Colorado Avalanche (27-18-4), currently sitting in eighth in the Western Conference, are undeterred by their form and the tiebreakers below them. During this weekend’s NHL All-Star Game festivities, Nathan MacKinnon provided a level of focus that led his peers to believe that the team still had sights set on a possible repeat championship at the season’s end.
For any team able to win the NHL Cup as champions, nothing is impossible and it is this mentality that truly motivates them to keep pushing forward.
Avs Are Confident For a Repeat
Entering the All-Star break, the Colorado Avalanche are showing signs of having rounded into form, winning seven of their last eight games. Forward Nathan MacKinnon expressed confidence that his squad is capable of a second Stanley Cup run this season. Last year, they cruised to the Central Division title and posted an impressive 16-4 record through the playoffs.
This go-round has been more tumultuous, due to injuries suffered by stars such as Gabriel Landeskog, Cale Makar, Valeri Nichushkin, and Josh Manson. However, Colorado’s recent tear has enabled them to grab hold of a wild card spot in the playoff picture. The next phase of the season appears promising for Avalanche fans looking forward to another championship parade.
Earlier this week, the Avalanche received some welcome news concerning the lineup when it was announced that both Bo Byram and Valeri Nichushkin would be returning against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bo Byram had been out of action for 38 games and Nichushkin, who had recently re-injured his surgically repaired ankle, had missed the last two games. While those key absences from the lineup have been a problem in recent weeks, the team’s captain Nathan MacKinnon is confident their full-strength roster will be able to make a real mark in their division.
“I’ll use it as an excuse, I guess, but when guys are hurt, it’s like they were traded away for nothing, so we could use those guys back.”
With these injured players returned to action for Tuesday night’s match-up against the Penguins, it will be interesting to watch how they perform and whether or not MacKinnon’s prediction of success proves accurate.
Tougher Road Ahead For This Year
The Colorado Avalanche are certainly facing an intriguing challenge for the rest of February – a three-game road trip to the East Coast and then three consecutive sets of back-to-backs all spaced out and mixed between home and away games. It is sure to test the limits of this determined team and put them to the task of performing at the highest level on an every night basis.
The Avs may be red hot at the moment, but Mikko Rantanen acknowledges that going for the second straight title will be a lot tougher.
“There are a lot of good teams and a lot of hungry teams to win, and we know it’s not easy, there aren’t many teams that won back-to-back (championships). It’s probably harder than it was last year, but we’re ready for the task, and we still have a good team.”
For successful momentum, it is paramount that luck remains on their side – no more significant injuries need to occur and those already hampered by injury must continue to progress throughout as expected. All roads point towards what could be a positive few weeks ahead for Colorado.
Colorado Avalanche Betting
The FanDuel Colorado Sportsbook currently listed the Avs as +700 to win the Stanley Cup, while their regular season total points are set at 101.5 (over/under). The Avs may have a comfortable record, but they are not good at covering spread this season with a 19-26 ATS record.
While the Avalanche’s success is something to be celebrated, Colorado sportsbooks may be preparing for another month with huge losses, just like last June when they reported $2M in losses due to Avs’ hot streak.
Boston Bruins (39-7-5) is the only team ahead of them with +400 odds. Carolina Hurricanes (34-9-8) have the same +700 odds, while the Toronto Maple Leafs (31-13-8) and Tampa Bay Lightning (32-16-2) complete the top teams with +1000 and +1200, respectively.
As the postseason approaches, Coloradans have plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the Avalanche’s chances. The men of Mile High have proven that their skill and tenacity can take them far, and with a healthy roster on the horizon, there is no telling what this team could accomplish in the coming months.