The Colorado Avalanche have been the surprise of the NHL for most of this season. With a young roster, a first-year head coach and a goaltender getting his first crack at being a full-time starter there weren’t a lot of reasons to be hopeful for the Avs this season.
Of course this is why they play the games and the Avalanche have taken full advantage of coach Joe Sacco’s tutelage and connection with the young players and run wild for the better part of this season, even leading the Northwest Division for a spell.
Now with the season winding down, the Avs are possibly wearing out and find themselves in eighth place in the Western Conference just two points ahead of the Calgary Flames and headed for a showdown in Denver on Friday night. The month of March has not been kind to the Avs as they’ve lost six of their last seven and gave up a point to the Kings (who are currently seventh) in their one win during that stretch.
Via twitter, Avalanche beat writer Adrian Dater reported the team went in for a closed-door meeting following their 5-2 loss to Anaheim. For a team in that kind of slide and finding themselves in the position they are now, it’s probably for the best.
The upside for Colorado is that Calgary will come into their game on Friday playing roller coaster hockey themselves. The Flames have won two straight (against Washington and Phoenix), but lost two straight before that (against the Islanders and Bruins). If you can make heads or tails of that, I’ll give you $50 in Monopoly money. I don’t want to blow Friday’s game out of proportion with hyperbole, but as WWE’s Jim Ross would say. it should be a real slobber-knocker.
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger