Back in 2001, hockey in Denver was huge. Everyone was a fan, and with a team like the Colorado Avalanche of 2001, how could you not fall in love with the team. Some 10 years later, what was once a franchise team is rebuilding, finishing in the bottom 10 teams 3 of the last 5 years. This team needs to come back to how it was.
With a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars last night, the Colorado Avalanche take the reign of #1 in the NHL. The Avs, with the new coaching of Patrick Roy have propelled themselves to the top of the NHL due to a strong start to the season, going 6-0. For those who think this streak is a fluke, lets look at who they’ve beaten:
October 2nd, they beat the Anaheim Ducks, a team that is very talented offensively but somewhat thin on the blue line. This was a big test for the Avs and Semyon Varlamov who had to face the scoring duo of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. The Avs shut down their offense and their goaltending fell apart, and the Avalanche dominated in a 6-1 win.
October 4th, the Avs hosted the Nashville Predators, one of the more talented defensive teams in the NHL. The Avs defense held the limited Predators offense to only 1 goal, and out shot them 36-27. The Avalanche sent the Predators packing with a 3-1 win.
October 8th, the Avalanche took to the road for the first time to face a tough team in the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs, a very young and talented team (much like the Avalanche) have high expectations this year in fowards Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. The ‘thin’ Avs defense held the strong Leafs offense to 28 shots and only 1 goal, while the hard hitting Leafs defense couldn’t stop the elusive Avalanche offense from scoring 2 goals. The Avs won 2-1 with another stellar game from Varly.
October 10th, the Avalanche took to the TD Garden to face a tough Boston Bruins team. With the combination of speed from the Avs and physical play from the B’s, this game looked like a big mismatch. Giving Semyon Varlamov the night off, the Avalanche turned to J.S. Giguere to stop the Bruins offense, and he didn’t let them down. Giguere stopped a career high 39 (yes, 39) shots en route to his first win and shutout of the season, and his first shutout since the ’11-’12 season. Not bad for the 36 year old. The Avalanche cruised to a 2-0 victory. ‘
October 12th, the Avalanche continued their Eastern Conference raid with a match-up with the Washington Capitals. The Capitals, starting the season off miserably, have failed to find a consistent starting goaltender in Brayden Holtby and Michael Neuvrith. Semyon Varlamov was back in net, and continued his hot play by stopping 40 shots. The Avlanche offense was led by Alex Tanguay with 2 goals, and Nathan MacKinnon who capped his first NHL career goal. The Avalanche offense was too much for the struggling Capitals, as the Avs steamrolled them for a 5-1 win.
October 15th, last night the Avs traveled back home to host the Dallas Stars for the first time of the season. The Avlanche faced the stars twice during the preseason, and were beaten both times. The Stars got off to a quick lead, but it was quickly erased by Matt Duchene, who is off to a hot start. The Avlanche traded the lead with Dallas once more, until a late second period goal by Duchene gave the Avs the lead and they didn’t look back. Another strong game from Varly in net (39 saves), and the Avs are 6-0.
Even though its a small sample of games, the opponents the Avs have beaten are at a high level. With victories against the Bruins and Leafs, they should have no problem beating their Western Conference foes in the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues. This team is a force, and with their young age, they can only get better.
The Avalanche are back, and they’re going to stay for a while.
About the Author
Written by Tyler Hetu
Aspiring writer in the works, I love sports and is here to express my thoughs and opinions to others on multiple sports teams. I enjoy the occasional basketball game every once in a while.