Nine days ago, the Colorado Avalanche sat in the eighth and final playoff spot until the Minnesota Wild rolled into Pepsi Center and defeated the Avs 3-2 to overtake them for the coveted final playoff position. Tonight, the Avs will get their shot at redemption as they host the same Minnesota Wild team here in Denver.
Despite Tuesday's disappointing loss in Edmonton, Colorado got lucky as Minnesota surrendered a three-goal lead to the Nashville Predators and were subsequently defeated 5-4. Thus, the Avs remain only one point behind the Wild and can leapfrog them in the standings tonight with a regulation win, just as the Wild did to the Avs last week.
The Avs' last three games have been virtual carbon copies of each other. They have all been 3-2 losses in which the Avs played well at times, but did not play well for the entire 60 minutes and their opponents (Anaheim, Minnesota and Edmonton) were able to take advantage and come away with the two points.
You can certainly point fingers at particular players who have made costly mistakes in each of these games or players who just need to step up their games to get the Avs in the win column, but I'm just going to bottom line it—the Avs need to play better as a team and find ways to win games.
The Avs will have a slightly different lineup tonight. Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere will start in goal after Semyon Varlamov suffered the loss in Edmonton Tuesday night. Forward David Jones and defenseman Shane O'Brien will be healthy scratches tonight, making way for Kevin Porter and Stefan Elliott to return to the lineup. Defenseman Matt Hunwick will be the other healthy scratch.