Colorado Avalanche: 2021 Presidents’ Trophy winners. It’s not the Stanley Cup, no, but it’s a piece of hardware that feels pretty damn good right now for Avs fans.
In a 56-game regular season that saw two lengthy Covid-19 delays and the usual passel of injuries to some key players, the Avs nonetheless clinched the best record for the 2021 NHL regular season Thursday night from a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings at Ball Arena in the season finale.
The Avs now have home-ice advantage for any round of the playoffs they play, starting with Monday’s first-round game against the St. Louis Blues.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Messrs. President.
It was a fun regular season, one in which the Avs came to play most every night, with few letdowns. They won the final five games of the season to win best record in the league, four wins against the Kings sandwiched around one very tough game in Las Vegas against the now second-place Golden Knights, who will play the Minnesota Wild in the first round.
Game 1 of the Avs-Blues series will start on Monday night at Ball Arena, where 7,750 fans will be able to attend. My thoughts on playing the Blues instead of the Wild? You know what, there are NO easy series in the NHL playoffs. I think the Avs are a much better team than St. Louis, but this will NOT be an easy series, not with Jordan Binnington in goal and Ryan O’Reilly performing his usual pixie dust magic.
But I think it’s just better to have won this trophy and home-ice throughout the playoffs. Don’t worry, be happy.
I was pretty nervous about this game after the first period. The Kings had a 1-0 lead and it was looking like Kings scrub goalie Troy Grosenick might have ONE OF THOSE NIGHTS against the Avs. And then the second period happened, and it was 20 minutes of bliss for all Avs fans.
Tyson Jost – TYSON JOST – led the way with the first two goals of the period. Skating in place of Nathan MacKinnon on the top line, Jost really came through for the Avs. After he gave the Avs a 2-1 lead, everybody just relaxed and it was an easy time of things from there.
Philipp Grubauer got an extra night of rest, thanks to coach Jared Bednar’s surprising decision to start Jonas Johansson in this one. Bednar now looks like a genius, and guys like me who questioned his move now get to wear the dunce hat.
Size 12, please.
That extra day of rest – the Avs would have started the playoffs Sunday against Minnesota had they lost – might come in very handy, with MacKinnon and Brandon Saad – two top-6 forwards – still on the mend from injury.
The Avs earned that extra day off with a gritty, superb showing down the stretch. Take a day off tomorrow and Saturday, fellas. But, come to work for practice on Sunday, because:
The real work is only just beginning.
By the way, are these hats selling well?
— Adrian Dater (@adater) May 14, 2021