While the push for the postseason may now be over, that doesn’t mean things have changed for the Colorado Avalanche.
There’s two games left in the regular season and the team is going to approach those the same way it would any other contest, starting with tonight’s matchup against the Dallas Stars.
“This is not the way we wanted it to go. This is obviously tough, but right now it’s just about playing all the way until the end, playing for the fans and playing for the organization. That’s what we’re going to go out and do,” Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog said. “It’s definitely tough, but you have to be professional about it. This is our job. We’ve got to take a lot of pride in that. Come out and play for the fans and for the logo and for each other.”
Colorado is looking to rebound from a 4-3 defeat to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, a loss that eliminated the Avalanche from playoff contention.
“You’ve got to have a short-term memory. It’s very disappointing losing that game in Nashville. I thought we played pretty well, but we just came up short in the end,” said goaltender Calvin Pickard, who will get the start in Texas. “You have to approach the game the same way and be a pro and go out and battle for your teammates and the logo.
“You want to finish on a good note. They’re going to be coming out buzzing. They’re going for first place, and we want to finish on a good note and have a good effort here.”
The Avs know what to expect from the Stars, a team they’ve already faced three times this season and posted a 2-0-1 record against. Colorado is 11-1-1 in the last 13 meetings versus Dallas and has won four straight games at American Airlines Center.
“We know that they’re going to put a lot of shots on Pickard tonight,” Landeskog said. “Obviously, they’ve got a lot of offensive talent, but for us, we want to make sure we bounce back from the other night in Nashville.”
“It’s a tough situation, but we have two games left and we’re playing two good teams,” Pickard added. “So we have to come out with good efforts and have some closure and have a good finish.”
There are always lessons to be learned in hockey, and playing for pride in the final two contests will certainly be a teachable moment for those on the Avalanche roster.
“This is not good enough. This is two years in a row now (missing the playoffs),” Landeskog said. “Really, we had it in our own hands basically all the way, and [we had] just way too many missed opportunities and way too many leads that we ended up losing. We’re going to have to learn from that and obviously move on. I think we’re all going to have to do some things in the summer where we’re going to have to think this over and really look in the mirror.
“I have no doubt that we’re going to get better from here.”
The Colorado Avalanche is hosting Fan Appreciation Day, presented by Pepsi, this Saturday, when it takes on the Anaheim Ducks for the final game of the regular season.
Once again, the day will be centered around thanking the fans for all of the support they’ve given the club throughout the year. Those in attendance will automatically be eligible to win a variety of prizes during the game, including a “Jersey Off Our Back,” presented by the players at the conclusion of the contest.
Other festivities include a special Fan Appreciation Sale going on by section 142 throughout the game, with all proceeds benefitting Kroenke Sports Charities and its community programs, and an Open House from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., for those interested in looking at new season membership seats for the 2016-17 campaign.
Tickets are still available.