Scouting Report: Colorado Avalanche
CALGARY, AB -- The Colorado Avalanche are proving to be the real deal in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.
Though they sit third in the Central Division, the Avalanche are seventh overall in the NHL standings. They’ve also earned points in 11 of their past 15 games, going 7-4-4 since taking a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome in early December.
They’ll try to do the same at Pepsi Center on Monday (7 p.m. MT, SNET-W).
This Season: 26-11-4, 56 points (5th in West)
Last Season: 16-25-7, 39 points (15th in West)
Flames Season Series Record: 0-2-0
It hasn’t taken MacKinnon long to get adjusted to life in the NHL. The first overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft has 12 goals and 14 assists in 41 games played this season. The 18-year-old has been especially hot of late, too, recording four goals and five points in his past four games.
Talbot, who had a goal and an assist in Colorado’s 3-2 win over the Flames in December, has gone five straight without recording a point and has just one assist over his past seven games. The 29-year-old has four goals and 11 points in 41 games this season between Colorado and the Philadelphia Flyers.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
O’Reilly is third on the Avalanche with 28 points while his 14 goals trail Matt Duchene’s lead by two. The 22-year-old has found the back of the net in two of his past three games, too. In 22 career games against the Flames, O’Reilly has just two goals, though.
Johnson has been on a tear of late for Colorado. The 6-foot-4, 232-pound defenceman has points in four straight to run his season totals to seven goals and 12 assists. Johnson, the first pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, is on pace for his highest offensive output since the 2009-10 season.
Duchene, a candidate to be named to Canada’s Olympic entry on Tuesday, has built a strong case to be included in the group that goes to Sochi. The 22-year-old sits 22nd overall in NHL scoring with 38 points in 38 games. His 16 goals also place him 21st.