The Colorado Avalanche took another step in the right direction this season. Despite falling to the San Jose Sharks in the second round of the playoffs in seven games this was still a successful season. Let’s take a look at their season in this edition of the Stanley Cup Playoffs Notebook.
This young and talented Avalanche team will be around for many years to come. Last season in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Colorado made a name for themselves taking the Nashville Predators to six games. While the Avalanche ultimately lost, they were better for it. Just like with this loss to San Jose, lessons on what it takes to win in the playoffs can be learned.
Avalanche Season Comes to an End
Colorado took those lessons and started off the season on an amazing winning streak. Nathan MacKinnon built off the success of last season. He reiterated the fact, he should have the Hart Trophy in 2018 by having another MVP type. MacKinnon elevated the play of his linemates Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog. The trio for Colorado composed one of the best lines in hockey.
In the playoffs, MacKinnon and Rantanen led the team in scoring for the Avalanche. Landeskog was not too far behind. Speaking of Landeskog, he took a major step in maturing. Taking the blame for the goal that was disallowed was a real sign of a true leader. As you can see below. While everyone is focusing on the offside rule, maybe Colorado had too many men on the ice. Considering that he was changing another aspect of the rulebook should be brought. When a player is retiring from the ice surface and is within the five foot (5′) limit of his players’ bench, and his substitute is on the ice then the retiring player shall be considered of the ice for the Purpose of Rule 70 – Leaving the Bench. Regardless of the outcome, Landeskog handled this with pure class.
Colorado fans should proud of the leadership that is on this team. It is only getting better with the arrival of Cale Makar. Makar showed up for Colorado in Game 3 of the first round series against Calgary. Coming right off the plane from the Frozen Four, Makar made an immediate impact in the lineup. Makar is a player beyond his years and will only get better.
A key to the Avalanche success this season was their goaltending. At the start of the season, Semyon Varlamov was outstanding but lost the starters role to Philipp Grubauer. In the playoffs, Grabauer was excellent for the Avalanche. He gave his team a chance to win each and every night. Colorado made the right choice trading for him last season.
After the loss, players showed signs of frustration. Not be satisfied by the loss will only bring extra motivation next season. This will only motivate them even further come next season. The relentless never quit attitude of Colorado will make them a dangerous team next season.