Thus far, the phrase has been:
"The Avs kept the top spot in the Northwest Division, but the *insert team here* has *insert number here* games in hand."
Now, at the 47-game mark, the other teams have caught up, and all is equal in the games played column.
Wait, what's that?
After a Calgary loss tonight (their second in a row), the Avs kept the top spot in the Northwest Division, and now the Avalanche have one game in hand.
The Avs and Flames both have 58 points, two ahead of Vancouver in the Division. Ninth place Detroit sits at 54 points, so it is obviously important that the Avs keep winning.
Colorado will play its 48th game tomorrow afternoon against the top team in the Eastern Conference, the New Jersey Devils. New Jersey's road record is outrageous, currently sitting at 16-5-1. They are tied with Pittsburgh for the most road victories in the NHL. New Jersey will also be the last team in the league to give up 100 goals this season. Thus far, they've given up 98, and it's no sure thing that the Avs will take them to the century mark.
Don't kid yourself. These games all matter. There's a tendency to get lost in the middle of the season. The games in October and November are important as a team tries to find its identity. In March and April, the playoff race is intense. But the middle of the season is crucial. The Avs NEED to take sole ownership of first place in the NW whenever presented with the opportunity to do so. This is their chance to be the 7th team in the league to hit the 60-point mark, and the third in the rest.
Get it done.