In their 41st and final regular-season game at Ball Arena, the Avalanche suffered a 5-4 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators. The loss means the Florida Panthers will finish with the NHL’s best record and clinch the Presidents’ Trophy.
The Avs hold the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and their 32-5-4 record at Ball Arena trails only the Panthers in wins at home (34).
As things currently stand, the Predators would meet the Calgary Flames in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs next week. Nashville holds the first wildcard slot in the Western Conference, ahead of the Dallas Stars by a point. The Preds also have the tiebreaker, meaning they can avoid the Avs in the opening round if they collect a single point or if Dallas fails to win their finale on Friday.
Nashville closes out the regular season in Arizona against the Coyotes while Dallas plays host to the Anaheim Ducks.
Cale Makar, Artturi Lehkonen, Logan O’Connor and J.T. Compher scored for the Avs, who are expected to rest a number of players ahead of Friday’s matchup in Minnesota.
The team recalled goalie Justus Annunen and defenseman Jacob MacDonald following Thursday’s loss.
Starting goalie Darcy Kuemper and star defenseman Cale Makar are not expected to travel to Minnesota.
“Indication is most likely not,” Makar said about dressing Friday night. “I still have to confirm so we’ll see.”
Aarif Deen is our Colorado Avalanche beat reporter. He covers Avs games live from Ball Arena and attends practices, media availabilities and other events pertaining to the Avs on the daily beat. He is also a co-host of Hockey Mountain High: Your go-to Avalanche Podcast. Deen joined Mile High Sports upon completion of his bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Before Mile High Sports, Deen worked for the Michigan Wolverines Athletics Department as the assistant sports information director.