It takes time to build up an avalanche. Snow falls and gathers atop steep peaks in layers. When those layers are big enough and unstable enough, the smallest disturbance can send the snowpack careening down the terrain in an unstoppable force of nature. This season for the Avs is mirroring their namesake, and everyone downhill should take precautions.
The defending Stanley Cup Champions had a rough start to the season. It has been riddled with injuries to key players, with Colorado having only one of their top six forwards healthy for a decent stretch of games. This is due in part to fatigue carried over from the stellar run to the Cup last year.
Captain Gabe Landeskog has not played a single game since hoisting Lord Stanley in late June. Nathan Mackinnon and Val Nichushkin have both missed significant time, along with many other key forwards and defensemen like Josh Manson and Bowen Byram. It is not really surprising that they haven’t been the dominant team the world saw in last year’s playoffs.
Along with the injury bug, the Avalanche have been on the bad end of a lot of “puck luck” (and lack thereof). The Avs have been hitting an insane amount of posts and crossbars, with Mackinnon, Rantanen, and Makar combining for 18. That’s 18 goals if it weren’t for less than an inch.
But it must snow and snow a lot for an avalanche to occur, and snow it has. All of the injuries, bad bounces, and posts rung have accumulated atop Colorado sport’s current-highest peak. The question is, when will it all break lose?
It’s possible that it already has. After losing to the lowly Chicago Blackhawks, the Avs came back to Denver and defeated Ottowa by a score of 7-0. Colorado was known for putting up a touchdown worth of goals last season, and the final score feels prophetic.
It was the Avs, after all, who beat the Lightning in that very rink by that very score in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.
The victory against the Sens would spark a 6-game win streak that continues at the time of this writing. Included in the streak was a massive victory on the 2nd night of a back-to-back when Colorado was able to take Seattle to a shootout. Nathan Mackinnon and Pavel Francouz ultimately called game.
Most of the streak has been accomplished without Norris and Conn Smythe trophy winner Cale Makar. Shown on the broadcast eating popcorn at the game in his native Calgary, Makar has put up monster minutes for Colorado this year. He’s certainly earned that popcorn, carrying the best odds to win the Norris again.
Cale should be back within the next few games. Josh Manson and Bo Byram are also close to playing. Landeskog is going to be out longer than expected, but his return will inevitably spark the team, propelling them into the postseason. The avalanche is coming, whether or not it has already started is the only thing up for debate.
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