Avalanche Start The New Year Strong
The start of the New Year is normally filled with resolutions, goals, and excitement. But for the Colorado Avalanche, January was filled with just one thing: wins.
With just a couple games remaining before the Olympic break, the Avs have made a strong push to secure a playoff spot in the first month of the year.
Perhaps no one has had a better month than goaltender Semyon Varlamov. The likely starting goalie for Russia in the Olympics posted a 10-1-1 record in January, tying the franchise record for wins in a month--and also tying a franchise record from Dec. 12 to Jan. 16 for most consecutive starts without a regulation loss (16). To top it all off, Varlamov signed a 5-year, $29.5 million contract extension with Colorado on Jan. 30.
And I thought a good month meant getting an extra day off from school for Martin Luther King, Jr. day...
The Avalanche posted a 10-3-1 record in the last month, including two wins over the Minnesota Wild, and one against the Dallas Stars. The Avs sit 10 points ahead of Minnesota, and 16 points ahead of Dallas as the Olympic break nears.
While fans have looked back at Minnesota and Dallas throughout the season, Colorado is creeping closer and closer to the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks. And of the seven other teams currently sitting in playoff position, the Avs have a winning record against five of them.
The Avs are averaging 3 goals a game this season, the most since the 2006-07 team. The numbers don’t lie, but Colorado is also passing the eye test--they’re starting to look like a Stanley Cup contender. Yes, they’re struggling to hold leads, and often hang on to wins by the skin of their teeth, but they are finding ways to win games.
Patrick Roy has a history of success in rookie seasons. In his first year in the league as a goalie with the Montreal Canadiens, he won the Stanley Cup. In his first year as the Avalanche goalie, he won the Stanley Cup. In his first head as head coach for Quebec Ramparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, he won the Memorial Cup (the equivalent of an NCAA football national championship in Canada). So who’s to say that in his first year as head coach of the Avalanche, he won’t do it again?