Mar 29, 2014, 5:56 PM EDT
The Colorado Avalanche clinched their first playoff berth since 2010 on Saturday, and did so by winning in a way that seems very familiar: by riding Semyon Varlamov‘s great goaltending.
In the process, they delighted many fans while also emboldening critics who believe that they’re running off of luck. Varlamov stopped 47 out of 49 shots as Colorado squeezed by the San Jose Sharks by a score of 3-2 today.
Varlamov’s counterpart Alex Stalock only faced 22 shots, but allowed those three goals.
The Avalanche are already talking about ticket sales and are rolling out a “Why Not Us?” campaign:
With this loss, the Sharks have now dropped four of their last five games, making it seem that much more likely that they’ll finish second in the Pacific Division this season. As of this writing, they have one more point than Anaheim (103 to 102), yet the Ducks have three games in hand and tiebreaker advantages.
In other words, the Avalanche seem primed for a first-round series against the Chicago Blackhawks (with home-ice advantage still on the line) while the Sharks are likely to be the second-ranked Pacific team against a robust third-ranked squad in the Los Angeles Kings.
(Again, note the word “likely” as strange things can certainly happen in sports.)
Colorado currently has a one-point lead over Chicago and hold a game in hand. It should be interesting to watch, but the Avalanche know they’ll make their second playoff run in six seasons after today’s win.
- Lightning ‘answer the challenge’ in Game 7 to reach Stanley Cup Final 7
- Vigneault: McDonagh was playing with a broken foot 14
- Bolts strike Stanley Cup Final berth thanks to Game 7 win over Rangers 69
- The Ducks got Kesler for a game like Saturday’s 32
- Duchene slams Russian players for storming off after Canada’s 2015 WHC win 54
- DeBoer predicts ‘big bounce-back’ in San Jose 14
- Sabres name Bylsma head coach 46
- Lundqvist on Game 7: ‘You’re definitely nervous, but it comes down to teamwork’ 18
- Report: Bylsma to Sabres being held up by compensation issue 56
- Stanley Cup Final to begin June 3 10
- Kesler on wearing down Chicago: ‘No human can withstand that many hits’ (77)
- Bolts strike Stanley Cup Final berth thanks to Game 7 win over Rangers (69)
- From healthy scratch to hero: Vermette scores OT winner for Blackhawks (66)
- Report: Bylsma to Sabres being held up by compensation issue (56)
- On Kreider, and trying ‘to turn the other cheek’ (54)