The Colorado Avalanche had a great opportunity on Thursday night to solidify their position in the Western Conference playoffs against the Phoenix Coyotes. Instead, the Coyotes held off a late rally and jumped all the way to third place atop the Pacific Division standings. The Avalanche fell to ninth place and out of the playoff picture with the loss.
Now, with only six games remaining in the regular season, every single game is a must-win for Colorado. For Colorado to punch their own ticket to the postseason without requiring help from other teams, they likely need to finish the season with at least a 5-1 record -- a minimum of 10 points.
They are facing a Canucks team that has been dominant against Colorado for several seasons. Vancouver has outscored Colorado by a 15-3 goal margin this season, going 0-3-1 in those four games. But the canucks have not been a dominant team of late, with a 4-5-1 record in March. They recently lost top forward Daniel Sedin to a concussion, and he is likely to miss the rest of the regular season
Colorado desperately needs their top players to show up for this game on Saturday night. Steve Downie has not scored a goal in his past nine games, and Peter Mueller, Milan Hejduk, and Matt Duchene have a grand total of one goal amongst them in the past two weeks. That simply will not get the Avalanche into the postseason.
Semyon Varlamov will start in net for Colorado. The young goaltender has a .938 SV% in his past nine starts.
Puck drops at 8:00pm MDT.
For more coverage, visit our Avalanche blog Mile High Hockey and our Canucks blog Nucks Misconduct.