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Scott Takes: Are the Avalanche back?



Avs win 3/18

Thursday morning, Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said the night’s tilt against Minnesota would be a “good measuring stick for our hockey team to see where we stand.”

It’s becoming much clearer as to where the Avalanche stand—or, rather, where they want to go—after Thursday’s win against the Wild.

With a fifth-straight win and now a pretty impressive 18-8-2 record, the Avs moved into second place in the West Division, leapfrogging the very same Minnesota team they danced with at Ball Arena on Thursday night. 

It was a good measuring stick, indeed. The Avs have been great of late, but have no doubt had their inconsistency issues all year. The Wild came in, winners of their last five, as one of the hottest teams in the NHL. Armed with exciting Russian rookie Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota had shutout their opponent in three of its last five games. The Avalanche, however, seemed to care very little about the Wild’s recent history. And they clearly cared very little about their own troubles in recent past. 

The Avs came out hot, in what Gabe Landeskog called what “might have been one of our better periods of the season.”

“Our team came out hungry and in attack mode,” Bednar added. 

After outshooting the Wild 25-6 in the opening frame—which is, by the way, the largest shot differential the Avs have put up in one period since 1997—it was clear the tone the Avalanche wanted to set. 

It’s a familiar one. It felt like the Avalanche of old, the ones from the past couple of years, and the ones dubbed the favorites, or whatever. It’s something we haven’t seen all too often this season.

There was extended zone time, vintage Nathan MacKinnon, top-line production; the team defense was stout; Forechecking and backchecking, relentless. The Avs looked deep, and all four lines were firing on all cylinders for the first time in a long time. 

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“We had no passengers,” Landeskog said after the game. “Everybody was going and all four lines were rolling.”

Oh, and this is the healthiest the Avs roster had been since opening night. If this is what they can accomplish with a mostly healthy roster, then lookout Lord Stanley.

The biggest takeaway: the Avalanche didn’t take their foot off the gas. And when they got punched, they punched back.

Even when the Wild cut Colorado’s lead in half midway through the game, there was no woe-is-me or slumped shoulders. They punched back. Figuratively and literally, as Bowen Byram went after the hulking 6-foot-6 Jordan Greenway in front of his net, stood up for himself, and drew an Avs powerplay that would regain Colorado’s two-goal lead. It was a microcosm of the team’s effort on Thursday night.

There was team spirit, an air of confidence on the bench, and a hustle and work ethic that felt championship-caliber. They’ve gone 18 straight games without allowing their opponent more than 30 shots. And there are certainly other key performance indicators that might suggest that this Avalanche team really might have it after all.

“We’ve played some really good hockey games here recently,” Bednar added. “We’re playing the right way and we’re starting to get some results.” 

And like Bednar said Thursday morning, it was a good measuring stick by which the Avs can judge themselves by. 

And if this Avalanche team can consistently show up, their measuring stick could very well be 35-and-one-quarter inches tall…and weigh roughly 37 pounds.

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A graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder, Scott has so far spent the early parts of his young career covering Colorado hockey — from the Avalanche to the Colorado Eagles to the DU Pioneers. His work can be found across sites such as, and SB Nation, among others. Scott currently resides in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Denver, where he works as a Marketing Executive when he's not writing.

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That is the measuring stick, for sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John Mauss

Really close to a perfect game. Bednar should send the players an email that says “watch the d-zone turnovers” and then give them tomorrow off.


5 wins in a row is fantastic. But more importantly, this team has not had an off night since that dreadful loss to the Sharks. This is really starting to look like the dominant team we had been promised in preseason.


Good win. And finally we get some puck luck! MacK’s goal wasn’t a beaut, but it was needed more than a snipe.
As a side note, kinda nuts that a goalie can let in a five spot and end the night above .900.

Matt Briggle

This was a model game for the Avs. That right there is how they need to play every single game for the next 4 months or so. Will the results always be there? No. But that effort and commitment and desire have to be there. I would be willing to bet there were more ice bags handed out between periods and after the game in that locker room than any other game. They blocked the shots they could, took the hits they needed to, and were engaged physically. Now all they need to do is get it through those thick… Read more »

John Mauss

I believe it was MacDonald who broke up that three on one you refer to.

[…] They were many pundits’ pre-season Stanley Cup darlings. But the Colorado Avalanche have struggled on and off this season. Are they back in gear? (ColoradoHockeyNow) […]

Aaron Hinton

Great game, kudos to the Avs…still not tough enough to win a 7-game series in the playoffs.

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