We have a little over 3 full weeks of games left in the NHL this season, and the Avalanche are still playing meaningful hockey (yay!). We can actually spend this season scoreboard watching rather than drowning our sorrows in the nearest alcoholic beverage. Below are my opinionated rooting interests for Avalanche fans in games that may have playoff implications. If you want to go to sportsclubstats.com to tell me how wrong I am, go for it, but I won’t be looking at those statistics (not that there is anything wrong with it). The teams that I am currently counting as locks to make the playoffs are Vegas and San Jose in the Pacific and Nashville, Winnipeg and Minnesota in the Central. In the hunt is Anaheim, Colorado (duh, and just in case you wanted to ask, your rooting interest for the Avalanche is to win), Los Angeles, Dallas, St. Louis and Calgary. Everyone below that line is out, if not mathematically, then logically. I think Calgary is there too, but they’re hanging on. We should also root for Ottawa to lose because narratives are fun.
Monday, March 19
Los Angeles Kings @ Minnesota Wild
This one is tough. Logic says, Minnesota beating a team behind is a good thing, right? Statistically, that’s probably the way you want to go. However, LA winning, hurts Anaheim’s chances way more than the Avs. If you’re thinking long term tie-breakers, Avs want to be tied with Anaheim and not LA, which means it’s ideal for LA to be top three in Pacific. For the sake of simpleness, let’s go Wild (however, if you need to just root for a meteor in regulation, that works too).
Calgary Flames @ Arizona Coyotes
Let’s go ‘Yotes!
Tuesday, March 20
Dallas Stars @ Washington Capitals
The Caps haven’t been helping the Avs much as of lately, let’s hope they can keep this one in regulation. That being said, Ben Bishop just got hurt and is being re-evaluated in two weeks. Tough break for the Stars and hopefully the Avs (and Caps) can… capitalize. Go Caps!
Los Angeles Kings @ Winnipeg Jets
Wednesday, March 21
Boston Bruins @ St. Louis Blues
East coast help would be lovely, but if there were a three point game, this wouldn’t be the worst one. Go Bruins.
Anaheim Ducks @ Calgary Flames
I’d probably go Calgary on this one, because they’re basically out, but never sleep on Gaudreau. Avs will have the tiebreaker on both teams, so what happens, just make it two points.
Thursday, March 22
No games to note other than LA @ Colorado. Go Avs!
Friday, March 23
Vancouver Canucks @ St. Louis Blues
Canucks could put the nail in the coffin. Ya’ll definitely want Vancouver to win.
Anaheim Ducks @ Winnipeg Jets
Boston Bruins at Dallas Stars
Go Bruins again!
Saturday, March 24
Calgary Flames @ San Jose Sharks
St. Louis Blues @ Columbus Blue Jackets
Will the east coast be the best coast? Hopefully it will here.
Nashville Predators @ Minnesota Wild
Huge game here. Avs probably don’t have a shot to catch the Wild, and in terms of playoff seeding, probably don’t want to anyways, but it’s always fun to see the Wild lose. We all know who to root for here.
Los Angeles Kings @ Edmonton Oilers
Hopefully McDavid can score four and give the Kings a free loss. That’d be nice, wouldn’t it?
Sunday, March 25
Vancouver Canucks @ Dallas Stars
It’s less than ideal that the Avalanche are rooting for the Brock Boeserless Canucks at the end of the year. He was just taken off the IR, so maybe he’ll be back sooner rather than later.
Boston Bruins @ Minnesota Wild
Boy the Bruins could do the Avs some big favors in this next week. As always, Go *insert any team not the Wild*!!
Anaheim Ducks @ Edmonton Oilers
This 2006 Western Conference Final rematch has quite a different feel to it. Hopefully the outcome is different and that Ducks steamroll the Oilers.
There’s lots of scoreboard and game watching to be done in the next week. All of this being said, with ten games left and 86 points, realistically, the Avs need to go 5-5 and they’re in (with a probably tie breaker). Go 6-4 and it’s all but guaranteed. If the Avs take care of their own games, they won’t even need to scoreboard watch, but that shouldn’t stop us. After all, who expected to be scoreboard watching this year beyond November, after the year that the Avs had last year? Let’s enjoy it while we can.