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Few teams have had playoff run as dominant as Avalanche

Colorado Avalanche

DENVER, COLORADO - JUNE 18: Members of the Colorado Avalanche celebrate a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Two of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final at Ball Arena on June 18, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche are one win away from winning the franchise’s third Stanley cup and first since the 2000-01 season. They have an opportunity to clinch that title on Friday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final (8 p.m. ET, ABC). If they are able to do it, whether it is in Game 5, 6, or 7, it will cap off one of the most dominant postseason performances we have seen from a team in the modern era.

Just for some historical perspective, let’s take a look at how stacks up.

• Since the start of the 1970 playoffs, there have been 125 teams that have played at least 18 games in a single postseason.

As of Friday, going into Game 5 of the series, the Avalanche are one of just four teams that have lost fewer than four games. The other three are the 1980-81 New York Islanders and 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers (both lost three games) and the 1987-88 Edmonton Oilers (they lost only two games).

Only nine of those teams went through an entire postseason losing only four games.

Entering Game 5, Colorado has lost just two games all postseason in regulation (Game 2 of their Second Round series against the St. Louis Blues and Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against Tampa Bay).

[Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info]

• Offensively, this team has been an absolute machine.

Through their first 18 games the Avalanche are averaging 4.50 goals per game. That total currently ranks them sixth out of the 125 teams with at least 18 playoff games. Every other team in the top-12 played between 1980 and 1989, when goal scoring was at an all-time high across the league.

Even more, only one team in the top-23 happened after the 1992-93 season (that would be the 1995-96 Stanley Cup champion Avalanche, who ranked 22nd on that list and averaged 3.64 goals per game; nearly one full goal per game less than this current Avalanche team).

• The power play is where this group really takes control of teams offensively.

[Related: The Wraparound: Avalanche power play is sinking Lightning in Stanley Cup Final]

So far this postseason the Avalanche are converting on 34.5 percent of their power plays, the second-best mark since 1970 (again, minimum 18 games played). The only team ahead of them is the 1980-81 Islanders who converted on 37.8 percent of their power plays.

Only five teams since 1970 (min. 18 games) have had a power play percentage higher than 30 percent.

• They also enter Game 5 with a whopping plus-30 goal differential, a mark that is 11th best in the aforementioned time period.

Of the 10 teams ahead of them, seven played during the 1980s. The only teams since 2000 to have a goal differential of plus-30 or better are the 2007-08 Detroit Red Wings and the 2020-21 Lightning.

• Their 39.7 shots on goal per game is the highest out of this sampling of teams, and two full shots per game better than the next closest team on the list (the 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers).

• On an individual note, Cale Makar is having one of the most productive postseasons of the modern era. Not just among defensemen. But among any player at any position.

[Related: Avalanche vs. Lightning: What to watch for in Game 5]

Enters Friday’s game averaging 1.50 points per game (27 points in 18 games). Among players that have appeared in at least 18 games in a single postseason since 1970 (a total of 1,824 players), that mark places him 18th.

Even more, only two others players since 1995 (min. 18 games) have averaged more than 1.50 points per game in a single postseason: Evgeni Malkin in 2008-09, and Joe Sakic in 1995-96.

Keep in mind, again, that he is a defenseman.

The only defenseman in that same sampling of players to average more points per game than Makar is Paul Coffey, who averaged 2.06 points per game with the Edmonton Oilers during the 1984-85 postseason.

Only six defenseman have averaged even more than 1.20 points per game during that stretch.

To put Makar’s performance in perspective, if this series went seven games and he did not record a single point in any of the remaining three games he would still be at 1.28 points per game this postseason. That would still place him sixth on this list behind only Coffey (1984-85), Brian Leetch (1993-94), Al MacInnis (1988-89), Dennis Potvin (1980-81), and Ray Bourque (1990-91).

Truly stunning numbers on a team and individual level. Especially when you consider Colorado has done all of this with mostly bad goaltending and key injuries to players like Nazem Kadri and Samuel Girard are various points in the playoffs.


Game 1 - Avalanche 4, Lightning 3 (OT)
Game 2 - Avalanche 7, Lightning 0
Game 3 - Lightning 6, Avalanche 2
Game 4 - Avalanche 3, Lightning 2 (OT)
Game 5 - June 24: Lightning at Avalanche, 8 p.m. ET (ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Game 6 - June 26: Avalanche at Lightning, 8 p.m. ET (ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)
*Game 7 - June 28: Lightning at Avalanche, 8 p.m. ET (ABC, ESPN+, SN, CBC, TVA Sports)

* - if necessary