What a difference a day can make.
Prior to Sunday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Colorado Avalanche sat in fourth place in the Northwest Division and held the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference with a 25-18-4 record (54 points). In demonstration of how tight the Northwest race has been this season, the Avalanche sits in a tie for first place in the division with Calgary after last night’s 3-1 victory. The club also currently owns the No. 3 seed in the conference by virtue of a tie-breaker.
“Everybody in the division knows that every game means something,” said Avalanche forward Cody McCormick. “It could mean a couple of places in the standings with a win or a loss. Every game is really big and you have to be ready for them.”
If the playoffs began today, four of the five teams in the Northwest Division would qualify for the postseason. Minnesota and Vancouver, who will square off tonight at GM Place, are each currently one point behind the Avalanche for the division lead.Nashville State of Mind
The Avalanche will faceoff with the Nashville Predators on Tuesday in the fourth and final meeting between the teams this season. Colorado holds a 2-1-0 record against Nashville this year and a 17-10-5-3 lead in the all-time series.
After dropping the first meeting this year between the clubs on Oct. 4 in Nashville (4-0), the Avs swept both ends of a home-and-home against the Predators on Dec. 13 at the Gaylord Entertainment Center (2-1) and Dec. 15 at Pepsi Center (3-1).
Heading into Tuesday’s game, the Avalanche carries a 4-0-1 record in its last five contests and have allowed just nine goals over that span. Jones Making an Impact
Playing in just his third NHL contest, and first since being recalled from the Lake Erie Monsters on Saturday, rookie David Jones
notched his first NHL point when he assisted on Ben Guite’s second-period tally in Sunday’s victory.
The goal was initially credited to Jones, who split a pair of Columbus defensemen before putting a shot on net, the rebound of which was knocked home by Guite.
“Lappy had the puck near the blue line and it jumped off a couple of guys’ sticks,” said Jones. “Their ‘D’ had kind of backed up a little bit and I managed to pick it up and put a shot on net. I don’t know if it went off Guite’s knee or what, but he was banging away at it and managed to get it in.”
So what was the bigger thrill for Jones: Notching his first NHL point or putting on an Avalanche sweater for the first time last month against the New York Rangers?
“I think playing my first game was a big milestone,” said Jones. “Obviously the first goal will be another one. I’m just happy to contribute and thought I played a solid game.”Nine is Fine for Theodore
Jose Theodore is slated to make his ninth consecutive start on Tuesday against Nashville. Over his last eight games, Theodore is 5-2-1 with a 1.59 goals-against average and .941 save percentage.
“He’s been real solid in the net. The guys have been playing real solid in front of him,” said Avalanche Head Coach Joel Quenneville. “But overall he’s been complimenting our team game. It’s nice to see him have the net here for several games in a row and he’s going to go again tomorrow.”