In January, the Colorado Avalanche looked like they might be in danger of missing the NHL playoffs. A second half surge has not only locked up a playoff spot, but the Avalanche now control their own destiny in the Central Division.
Winning each of their final five games would certainly make things easier, right?
There are only seven days remaining in the regular season of the NHL, and the playoffs are so close you can taste it. If the Avalanche are able to win all of their remaining games, they’ll win the Central Division. With a game in hand on the Dallas Stars and the Minnesota Wild, the Avalanche have control of the situation.
It may come down to that final game of the regular season, which just so happens to be a rescheduled game from earlier in the year against the Nashville Predators. The game was supposed to have taken place back in November, but a water main break in Nashville forced the postponement of the matchup. Now, that game might matter. A lot.
According to Moneypuck, the Avalanche currently hold a 55.2% chance of winning the Central Division. That’s what the Avalanche want, so they can avoid having to play one of the Wild or Stars in the first round of the NHL playoffs.
But even if they don’t finish first in the division, things still look good for them to have home-ice in round one, as they carry a 35.8% chance of finishing second. That means there’s a 91% chance the Avalanche will start the playoffs at Ball Arena.
The Stars currently hold a 41.4% chance of winning the Central, while the Wild have seen their odds drop all the way down to 3.4%. They’ll get Kirill Kaprizov back on Saturday, but lost Joel Eriksson-Ek to injury in their previous game.
The Avalanche do have a tough schedule down the stretch, facing three teams that are currently in a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Good news for them is that two of those games (Edmonton and Winnipeg) take place at Ball Arena. There other remaining games are against Los Angeles, Anaheim, and the previously mentioned Nashville.
That Saturday night Los Angeles matchup is likely the toughest of the five for the Avalanche, as they have yet to beat the Kings this season. They are 7-2-1 against the other four teams.
The Stars have two games at home and two on the road before the NHL playoffs start. They’ll take on the Golden Knights, Red Wings, and the Blues twice. They have yet to lose a game against any of those teams this season.
The Wild take on the Blues and Jets at home, and the Blackhawks and Predators on the road. Against those teams this season, the Wild currently are 9-2.
Over the last 10 games, the Avalanche are the hottest team of the three, with an 8-2 record. They also hold the advantage of having the likes of Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon on their squad.
It’s going to be an exciting final week of the regular season, as we wait to see who the Avalanche will face in the first round of the NHL playoffs, and where they’ll start. And as of right now, they hold all the power.