Connect with us

Colorado Avalanche

Three Keys For the Avalanche In Huge Game Against Jets



Avalanche Jets

Regular season games in April are supposed to mean something, and Saturday afternoon’s matchup between the Colorado Avalanche and Winnipeg Jets means a whole heck of a lot.

If the Avalanche lose, it’s going to be awfully difficult for them to get home-ice advantage in round one. The Jets own all the tiebreakers, so Colorado needs this one (and probably their final two games) if they want to start at Ball Arena.

Starting at home is a big deal for Colorado. A really big deal. They have more home wins than any team in the NHL, but on the road, they’re just 19-16-5. Their odds of winning a playoff series are significantly higher if they can secure an extra home game for round one, and that starts with a win on Saturday afternoon.

Here are three keys for the Avalanche ahead of their game with Winnipeg.

1. Get A Lead

This Jets team is built to play with the lead, and the Avalanche have had a tendency to give up early goals, especially in Alexandar Georgiev’s starts. That cannot happen on Saturday afternoon.

“If you give up a couple of easy goals against this team, you have no chance of winning, because of what they don’t give up,” Jared Bednar said on Friday.

Colorado needs to get off to a strong start. These two teams haven’t played since December, but in both of those games, the Jets got out to an early lead and slowed the game down. That’s not how the Avalanche like to play, so scoring early against the Jets and forcing them to open up a little bit will be huge for the home team.

2. Build Some Chemistry

A lot of people have been clamoring for Mikko Rantanen to be separated from Nathan MacKinnon, and it looks like it will happen against the Jets. The Jonathan Drouin, Artturi Lehkonen, and MacKinnon combination has played well when together, but the Valeri Nichushkin, Casey Mittelstadt, and Rantanen combo needs to hold up their end of the bargain if Bednar is going to keep his two stars apart.

If the Avalanche get down or aren’t creating offense, we all know Bednar won’t hesitate to put the two back together. Strong performances from both lines will give the Avalanche some options heading into the final week of the season.

We know Rantanen and MacKinnon can thrive apart. We saw it in the 2022 playoffs, and if they can do that again, Colorado will be a more difficult team to defend in the postseason.

3. Don’t Let The Jets Cycle

One thing I noticed against the Stars last weekend is that they were able to cycle at will against Colorado, forcing the Avalanche to spend way more time in their end than they wanted to. Winnipeg is a big team up front. Really big. They have just one forward listed at under 6′, and have nine forwards on their roster listed at 6’2″ or higher. Colorado doesn’t have the biggest defense in the world, so if they’re going to have success against this team, they need to avoid getting stuck in their own end for extended periods of time.

Colorado isn’t going to physically dominate any team, so they’re going to need to use their speed and skating to keep the puck away from the Jets. That’s something they didn’t do in the previous two matchups between these teams back in December, but no better time to start than now.

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

This site is in no way associated with the Colorado Avalanche or the NHL. Copyright © 2023 National Hockey Now.