To supplement today’s column on the state of the Avalanche, let’s take a closer look at where they stand in regards to the NHL playoffs.
The short-term view: the Avs are in great shape.
The big-picture view: the Avs need to keep winning.
That’s because the Stanley Cup champion — and I do believe the Avs should be in the conversation — rarely emerges from a low seed. Here’s a look at the past 10 Stanley Cup champions and their playoff seed:
2013: No. 1 Blackhawks
2012: No. 8 Kings
2011: No. 3 Bruins
2010: No. 2 Blackhawks
2009: No. 4 Penguins
2008: No. 1 Red Wings
2007: No. 2 Ducks
2006: No. 2 Hurricanes
2005: (NHL lockout)
2004: No. 1 Lightning
2003: No. 2 Devils
As they head into their first game after the Olympics, against the Kings tonight at Pepsi Center, the Avs have the fifth-most points in the West (79). They are closer to the No. 1 spot (Anaheim, 87 points) than the No. 6 spot (Minnesota, 69). Unexpectedly, except to Patrick Roy, they are in an excellent position.
But the Central division title is well within reach. Only five points separate the Avs from the first-place Blues. Keep winning, watch the wear-and-tear of an Olympics year take a toll on other teams, and the Avs can secure home ice in the playoffs and a much better chance of advancing in the Stanley Cup playoffs.