Believe it or not, but the Colorado Avalanche are the only team in the National Hockey League (NHL) at the moment to no have not lost a game in regulation or extra time. At five wins and zero losses, the Avalanche are definitely improving on a regular basis after completely tanking during the 2016-17 campaign. Here are five reasons why the Avalanche are the best team in the NHL at the moment.
At the end of the 2018-19 regular season, the Avalanche were one of the hottest teams in the NHL. According to NHL Reference, the Avalanche had a record of 8-1-2 in their last 11 games and then went into the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs and beat the Calgary Flames (who were the top seed in the Western Conference) in the first round four games to one. Colorado then took the San Jose Sharks to seven games. The confidence the Avalanche got from the end of 2018-19 has continued into this season.
The Avalanche enjoy the luxury of having one of the NHL’s best rookies in their lineup. Cale Makar is a mobile defenseman with an incredible amount of skill and finesse. The Avalanche’s first round pick of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft already has six assists in five games.
Generally, it takes time for new players to fit into the lineup. However Nazem Kadri (who Colorado acquired via trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs) and Andre Burakovsky, who the Avalanche acquired as a free agent from the Washington Capitals, have fit in very nicely. They have combined for four goals and five assists in their first five games.
There might have been some genuine concern about Mikko Rantanen’s production to start the season. He missed the first two weeks of training camp and the preseason due to a contract dispute and did not sign with the Avalanche until Sept. 28, when he agreed to a six year deal worth $55.5 million. However, Rantanen reportedly trained extremely hard in his native Finland according to Mike Chambers of the Denver Post, and has simply been great to start the season. He leads the Avalanche with nine points (four goals and five assists).
In their first five games in 2019-20, the Avalanche have scored 22 goals. That is an average of 4.4 goals per game. The Avalanche’s top line of Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog are producing at a high level as they have combined for 23 points in five games. The Avalanche showed off their offensive excellence with regularity on Monday as they trounced the Washington Capitals 6-3. It was a tough game for Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, who gave up three goals on Colorado’s first three shots. The fact that the Avalanche were able to beat one of the NHL’s top goaltenders with relative ease should give them an immense amount of confidence as the season progresses.
The Avalanche’s next game will not be any easier. On Wednesday, they face the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are no strangers to filling up the net this season. Pittsburgh has 25 goals in six games and have one of the NHL’s very best players in Sidney Crosby.
Last modified: September 23, 2020 1:09 PM