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Avs Hit Bump In The Road, But The March Continues

by Kyle Shohara / Colorado Avalanche
In the ever-changing Western Conference standings, the Avs now find themselves on the outside looking in after a 3-2 defeat in Glendale, Arizona last night. 

The Avs, who entered last night's contest against Phoenix in seventh place, got little help on the out-of-town scoreboard. 

Both the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings earned two points, and Calgary earned one point in a shootout loss.  Phoenix sat alone in third place in the Western Conference for about half an hour until the Los Angeles/St. Louis game wrapped up.  

Here's what happened last night:

Phoenix defeated Colorado 3-2 in regulation
The Avs dropped from seventh to ninth place.  They are tied for the eighth spot (Dallas) but have played two more games than the Stars.  

Phoenix went from ninth to third, but dropped to seventh because they have played one more game than the Kings.  Both teams have 86 points.

Minnesota defeated Calgary 3-2 in a shootout
With a point earned, the Flames are two points behind with the Avs with a game in hand.  The Avalance defeated the Flames in overtime on Tuesday.  Calgary sits in 11th place with 83 points, two points behind eighth-place Dallas.

Vancouver defeated Dallas 2-1 in regulation
The Canucks did the Avs a huge favor by ending this one in regulation.  The Stars remain at 85 points (eighth in the West) with 74 games played. 

Los Angeles defeated St. Louis 1-0 in a shootout
The Blues couldn't solve Kings netminder Jonathan Quick, who earned his eighth shutout of the season and 22nd of his career.  The Kings went from eighth to third place with the win, and have two games in hand on the Avs.

San Jose defeated Boston 2-1 in regulation
The defending Stanley Cup Champions couldn't help the Avs in this matchup.  The Sharks entered the contest having lost two straight, but their win last night keeps them in the chase. They sit in 10th place with 84 points, having played two fewer games than the Avalanche.

Here are the standings entering tonight's games:

With six games remaining (three at home, three on the road), the Avs have to win their remaining games against San Jose (road, March 26) and Calgary (road, March 30) in regulation, preferably.  The other four games consist of Vancouver (twice, home and road), Columbus (home) and Nashville (home).  How many games will the Avs have to win for a ticket to the "dance"?

Will a 5-1-0 or 4-0-2 record suffice? That would give the Avs 95 points at season's end.  Keep in mind they have a five-day break in between games 80 and 81.  The Western Conference standings will probably look a lot different when the Avs take the ice against the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 5.
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