Throughout the club’s 25-year history, there has no doubt been many incredible moments for the Avs.
The inaugural, Cup-winning season of 1995-96 is certainly up there. Likely topping that is the ’01 Cup run, capped by one of the greatest feel-good, watery-eye-inducing moments across all NHL history: Joe Sakic passing off Lord Stanley to a retiring Ray Bourque, Gary Thorne’s voice still echoing in the hearts and minds of Avs faithful.
These moments may be hard to beat, but in recent memory—in this era of Avalanche hockey—there’s one moment that certainly ranks up there. It’s been simply, and affectionately, dubbed “Game 82”. And like any great Cinderella story, it all starts with once upon a time…
After a four-year stretch of playoff-less hockey, and after the abysmal 48-point season of 2016-17, the Avs put together an improbable storybook season in 17-18. It all culminated into the final contest of the season—Game 82. The Avalanche were forced into a win-and-you’re-in situation against the St. Louis Blues. Winner gets the final playoff spot, loser goes home.
It’s April 7, 2018.
“It was an amazing night. It was a game that I still look back on,” Avs head coach Jared Bednar said Wednesday, on the three-year anniversary of Game 82. “It was an important game for our team and for our organization to get back into the playoffs. It came right down to the wire. And to be able to play the way we did at home in front of our fans was amazing.”