The Colorado Avalanche find themselves in strange water heading into tonight's matchup against the playoff-hungry Toronto Maple Leafs. The Avalanche have won two games in a row for the first time since January 18, when they defeated the Vancouver Canucks. Colorado only won one game the entire month of February.
They face a Toronto team that is on the cusp of the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference, only five points behind the Buffalo Sabres for the eighth and final spot. Toronto has had yet another uncertain season in a series of disappointments, having missed the playoffs in every season since the 2004 NHL lockout. But this proud franchise has won three of four games, giving their city hope of a miracle playoff run. Captain and defenseman Dion Phaneuf has led the charge, scoring eight points in the past 10 games. Rookie goalie James Reimer has been inconsistent in net, but has kept his team in most games this season since he became the full time starter at the end of December.
Colorado has an excellent shot at extending their winning streak to three games, something not seen since December. Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly have both been solid offensively, and Brian Elliott has been decent in net. Milan Hejduk --who scored the winning shootout goal against Columbus -- is one goal shy of his 20th for the season, which would give him a franchise record for consecutive 20-goal seasons.
Brian Elliott will start in net for Colorado. James Reimer will get the start for Toronto.
Puck drops at 7:00 p.m. MDT.