A season ago the Colorado Avalanche finished last in the Western Conference and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third straight season. Coach Joe Sacco was fired.
Two franchise legends were tasked with rebuilding the franchise. In May, Joe Sakic was named executive vice president of hockey operations. Two weeks later, Patrick Roy was hired as coach. Each was a cornerstone of Colorado's Stanley Cup victories in 1996 and 2001, which made for a winning pedigree in the front office and behind the bench.
The Avalanche opened the Roy Era with a 6-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks and raced out of the gate like a thoroughbred. Considering how they finished last season, many braced for the Avalanche to fall back to the pack. Instead, they're headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
It's been a long road back for the Avalanche, but the wait has been worth it. Colorado's 47 wins are the most since 2000-01 (52) and its 100 points are the most since the Avalanche hit that number in 2003-04.