The Colorado Avalanche are playing really well right now and this gives them a chance to win the Stanley Cup again. “It’s something we want more of,” said Bowen Byram who plays defense for the Avalanche. It will be very difficult in the playoffs since there are lots of talented teams like the Boston Bruins, who set a record, but it’s possible they’ll make it all the way to being champions once again.
Colorado won their final regular season game on Friday night against Nashville thanks to Nathan MacKinnon, who made a goal with just 1 minute and 42 seconds left! This victory means the Avs have won their division for the third year in a row and now they are set to compete against the Seattle Kraken in the first round of matches.
The Avs had an awesome last three months with 31 wins and 4 losses, which also gave them a franchise record of 29 road wins – including 11 straight since losing at Dallas back in March.
Mikko Rantanen said that at the beginning of January, their team was in sixth place in their division. But they worked hard and managed to get home ice advantage by the end of the year.
On Tuesday night, Colorado will start protecting that home ice by playing against a wild-card team called the Kraken. Compared to last season, the Kraken have improved a lot as they won 19 more games!
The team that won the championship last season didn’t do as well this year, even though they won a lot of games (56) during the regular season and did very good in playoffs – winning 16 out of 20 games.
Things changed too when two players – Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky left and signed contracts with different teams – Calgary and Seattle.
Lots of injuries happened to the Colorado team, causing them to break their own record for the most players used in one season. Unfortunately, their captain Gabriel Landeskog wasn’t even able to play this season due to an injured right knee that had already been surgically repaired twice.
Colorado hockey team has some amazing players like MacKinnon, Rantanen and the winner of Norris Trophy (Cale Makar). To make their team even stronger, they got a goalie from the New York Rangers named Alexandar Georgiev and before their Cup-winning goalkeeper, Darcy Kuemper left to join Washington’s team.
MacKinnon, 27 years old had a career best performance this season with 111 points. From that he also got selected for All-Star six times suggesting, he might be performing his best. Rantanen also broke his own records by scoring 55 goals and 105 in all points which puts him on the third rank when it comes to the league. Makar had some injuries recently and only played sixty games due to that injury, however currently he is good enough to face playoffs.
When Georgiev was given the opportunity to be a No.1 goalie, he made a great impression by winning 40 out of 42 games and allowing only 2.53 goals per game. This was a huge accomplishment since his previous record with the Rangers was just 17 wins. MacKinnon, who is amazed by Georgiev’s performance said that it’s lucky for them to have him, as it could be considered a “Vezina worthy” season.
In Seattle, two people share the goalkeeping role and have each given up almost three goals in every game. One of these players, Burakovsky, who normally gets 39 points in 49 games, has not played since February 7 due to an injury that required surgery.
Vegas and Winnipeg will be playing against each other during the first round of playoffs.
The Golden Knights, who are seeded number one in the Western Conference and won their division, will host the Jets in Game 1 of the playoffs on Tuesday. This team has had a record-breaking season, with Jack Eichel as their top scorer. They hope that their leader Mark Stone can come back after he was out with a back injury for three months. They are led by new coach Bruce Cassidy.
The Jets have a new coach called Rick Bowness who needs Kyle Connor and Connor Hellebuyck to play really awesomely so they can win. On Monday night, the Oilers (2nd in the Pacific) and Kings (3rd in the Pacific) will play each other for the second year in a row. Last year, the Oilers won Game 7 against Los Angeles with help from Connor McDavid.
The 26-year-old super star hockey player McDavid scored an amazing 64 goals and 153 points, which was much more than second place holder Leon Draisaitl who only got 128 points. David Pastrnak came third with 113 points.
McDavid is really motivated to do better this time around – because last year he was eliminated in the Western finals by Colorado.
Anze Kopitar is leading Los Angeles, who had a really good season with 74 points. But to keep up with the high-scoring Oilers, the Kings need some injured players to come back. Kevin Fiala missed the last two weeks because of an injury in his lower body while Gabriel Vilardi has been away due to sickness in his upper body for a few weeks now.
The Stars and Wild, who placed 2nd and 3rd in their division, will compete against each other for Game 1 on Monday night. This year, the new coach Peter DeBoer has been leading Jason Robertson – a young winger – to scoring 40 or more goals for two seasons in a row; while Jamie Benn, an older winger at 33 years old, scored 78 points this season!
Minnesota is trying hard to end a long period of six consecutive losses in the opening round and win again since 2015. The Wild team might switch between an old, experienced goalie called Marc-Andre Fleury, who has won the Cup three times, and a younger one named Filip Gustavsson.