OK, Avs fans. Stop what you’re doing for a second. Search your surroundings. Take note of this moment in time.
There hasn’t been a better time to be a supporter of the Colorado Avalanche since the last time the team hoisted the Stanley Cup.
Already a promising season up until this point, things have seemingly begun to come together over the past few weeks to the point where it’s safe to say the Avs have met, or even exceeded, lofty preseason expectations.
Case in point, Philipp Grubauer stopped each and every one of the Ottawa Senator’s 34 shots on his way to a shutout and the Avs’ fifth straight win. And after stumbling a bit after the New Year, Colorado’s managed eight wins in its last nine games.
This latest stretch isn’t an aberration, though. Between late November and mid-December, the Avs also produced eight wins in nine games, not to mention Colorado didn’t lose in regulation until its ninth game of the season.
And it’s not necessarily news the Avalanche have steadily remained one of the top clubs in the NHL this season. Nor is it a shock Nathan MacKinnon is an MVP candidate and Cale Makar is the league’s top rookie (get out of here with that Quinn Hughes nonsense).
What is noteworthy, however, is Colorado is playing as expected.
Sure, there have been playoff-caliber teams over the past two decades — the past two seasons, for example, or the surprising turnaround during Patrick Roy’s first year as head coach in 2013-’14.
But the Avs haven’t been to a Western Conference Finals series since the days of Bob Hartley. And after basically expecting a deep postseason run each season during the late 1990s and early 2000s, Colorado’s playoff berths have been sporadic at best since the 2004-’05 work stoppage.
Sure, don’t get ahead of yourself, you might say. But why not? Thinks appear to be firing on all cylinders for the Avs as they barrel toward a third-straight playoff appearance for the first time in 15 years.
Enjoy the ride, Avs fans. It’s been a while since such lofty expectations have been consistently met by this franchise.
And maybe clear some room for the oncoming bandwagoners.
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