Woah! Take a look at those standings:
5. Los Angeles Kings - 40 Wins, 85 Points, 15 Games Remaining
6. Colorado Avalanche - 38 Wins, 82 Points, 15 Games Remaining
7. Nashville Predators - 37 Wins, 79 Points, 14 Games Remaining
8. Detroit Red Wings - 33 Wins, 78 Points, 14 Games Remaining
9. Calgary Flames - 34 Wins, 77 Points, 14 Games Remaining
We pretty much have four teams (Colorado, Nashville, Detroit, and Calgary) competing for the final three spots. Currently, the Avs sit in the best position of the four to secure a playoff bid, but the other three teams are starting to heat up while Colorado's play has remained inconsistent.
A quick glance at Colorado's remaining schedule reveals some bigger-than-gigantic games:
Wednesday, March 17: Calgary @ Colorado
Monday, March 22: Colorado @ Los Angeles
Wednesday, March 24: Los Angeles @ Colorado
Saturday, March 27: Colorado @ Phoenix
Friday, April 2: Calgary @ Colorado
Tuesday, April 6: Colorado @ Vancouver
Sunday, April 11: Los Angeles @ Colorado
Of the fifteen remaining games, seven are against clubs in line line to make the Playoffs. Those are the games that will determine who gets in. Of course, the Avalanche need to capitalize on the other eight games, as they fight teams who aren't bad enough to be fighting for the #1 pick, but aren't good enough to be in serious contention for the eighth seed.
Of the games I didn't mention, two are against San Jose and one is against Chicago. The Avs will also see Anaheim two more times. These are going to be tough games and more than likely, games the Avs are going to have to at least get a point out of.
On April 7th (Game 80), the Avs will head to Edmonton to face a team that will be hoping to lose out. That game will be the clincher. Calling it now.
We're about two hours away from puck drop against Dallas, and the message in the Avs' lockerroom needs to be that the team can't get by the rest of the way playing well one out of every two nights. There has to be a consistent sixty minute effort, and if the game is close in the third, getting at least one point is absolutely necessary.
Who will step up?