What a month it was for the Avalanche. They played 16 games in 29 days, won 15 of them and collected all but a single point.

Following Sunday’s 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at Ball Arena, the Avs currently sit atop the NHL in both points (67) and points percent (.779). They’ve also won 10 straight games to close out an epic January.

“Amazing month from our from our guys, really,” head coach Jared Bednar said. “It’s a lot of hockey and a lot of travel.”

Colorado finished with a 15-0-1 record and collected 31-of-32 points, tying the record for the most wins in any calendar month by an NHL team. They also extended their winning stream at Ball Arena to 18 games — 10 of which came during this month.

“If you look at the history of the Avs, they’ve had some pretty good team so of course, we’re humbled by that,” said center Nazem Kadri, who climbed to third in the NHL points race with a goal.

Any way you shake it, the Avalanche had a historic showing in January. Their resiliency in erasing two and sometimes three-goal deficits was borderline insanity.

“I learned that we’re a resilient group, pretty consistent,” Bednar said in recalling the winningest month in team history. “There were some games we weren’t perfect but found different ways to win, different guys chipping in, which is what good teams do.”

What sticks out most is the Avalanche’s hunger for more. Their realization that while the wins and points continue to pile up, there is still another level the team could get to.

“There are not really too many complacent guys in the dressing room,” Kadri said. “I feel like everyone feels that we could still be a little bit better.”

Throughout January, each game the Avs played — each of their 15 wins — was special in its own way. There were quite a few highs and understandably so, not as many lows.

Let’s look back at the special month that was. Winning in the playoffs is the goal for this team. But for a moment, looking back at a month like this is worthwhile. Especially considering how difficult it was to accomplish and the unlikeliness of repeating.

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Deen’s List:

Jan. 2 vs ANA

Coming off a long COVID pause that stretched into the holiday break, the Avalanche were simply excited to finally play hockey again. Although they started slow, they clawed back to erase a 2-0 deficit and defeat the Anaheim Ducks 4-2.

The comeback was special and became a theme for the Avs all month long. They often would bend, but never break. And it all started with this four-goal outburst against a red-hot John Gibson in goal for the Ducks.

Jan. 4 at CHI

It doesn’t get any better than this: The night superstar defenseman Cale Makar flexed his skills in front of the entire sports world.

Scoring easily the nicest Avs goal of the month, Makar described what he did that night as lucky. But it was certainly more a showcase of his skill.

Carrying the puck in the Blackhawks zone during the 3-on-3 overtime period, Makar put on the brakes to leave Chicago forward Kirby Dach in the dust and went on to challenge goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Not having much time to decide what to do, he flipped the puck to his backhand and put it top shelf into the gaping net.

It was epic. It was special. And it was the highlight of the Avs’ victory over the Blackhawks.

Jan. 6 vs WPG

It wasn’t as big a come-from-behind victory, but the Avs surrendered the first goal against the Winnipeg Jets only to answer with seven. Colorado’s 7-1 victory was their seventh seven-goal game of the season and a showcase of what the top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog could do on any given night.

The trio combined for 12 points with Landeskog recording his fourth career hat-trick to lead the way. MacKinnon also had five assists.

Pick your special. There were plenty to choose from.

Jan. 8 vs TOR

It’s hard to explain this one without feeling the energy at Ball Arena that night.

But picture this. It’s a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast between two of the NHL’s most offensively gifted teams. The visiting Maple Leafs storm out to a 4-1 lead thanks to two beautiful goals from Auston Matthews, one of the best scorers in the league.

Colorado is doing everything it possibly could to make a comeback but is getting stopped by goalie Jack Campbell, who at one point made a soccer-like diving save on Devon Toews. It seemed like a hopeless task.

But then the special moment happened. Mikko Rantanen made a no-look behind the net pass to J.T. Compher to pull the Avs within a goal and break what seemed like an unbeatable Campbell in the third period.

The rest is history.

Jan. 10 vs SEA

The return of goaltender Philipp Grubauer takes the cake in this one. The Avs needed to erase a 3-1 lead to earn the two points but that seems a little more special coming against stronger teams like Toronto. It would’ve been deemed a disappointment had Colorado lost.

But back to Grubauer.

He had a memorable three years with the Avs highlighted by his Vezina Trophy finalist season in 2021. Grubauer loved his time in Denver but chose to move on to Seattle. In his return, he was applauded by the crowd and he showed his appreciation right back.

It was one of those nice moments you often see that make sports special.

Jan. 11 at NSH

We’ve finally reached the one and only loss. And it was an overtime loss so it wasn’t really a loss per say. At least not by NHL standards.

The Avs lost 5-4 after surrendering a power-play goal in overtime to former Av Matt Duchene. What led to it was a questionable too-many men on the ice penalty that seemed like an incorrect call. Colorado wasn’t happy with the way it ended and neither were those that were hoping for a perfect January.

But that wasn’t the special part. Remember Makar’s game-tying goal? If not, take a look to refresh your memory.

Jan. 14 vs ARI

In the first of a back-to-back against the Western Conference’s worst team, the Avs needed a shootout to come away with two points.

The highlight came at the hands of Kadri, who scored one of the ‘Naz’-tiest shootout goals in recent memory. It was capped off by an incredible call from the Avs play-by-play and color commentator duo of Marc Moser and Peter McNab.

“Get him to Vegas, baby!”


Jan. 15 vs ARI

This was a more fitting game for the Avs against the lowly Yotes. Colorado dominated every facet of this road game, defeating the Coyotes 5-0.

Offseason acquisition Darcy Kuemper finally recorded his first shutout with the Avalanche. And it came in his return to Arizona against his former team.

Kuemper had his moment. And it was special.

Jan. 17 vs MIN

Coming off a shutout, Kuemper was tasked with a much tougher divisional opponent. The Avs and Wild went toe-to-toe in a close game that made it all the way to the shootout.

But almost halfway through, Kuemper was pulled by the concussion protocol spotter after a collision with Minnesota’s Jordan Greenway. His replacement, goaltender Pavel Francouz, was strong in relief.

Francouz stopped 25-of-27 in 35 minutes of action and was 3-for-3 in the shootout. The final save, a flashy glove stop, came against superstar Kirill Kaprizov. Francouz was a shining light that night. And thankfully, Kuemper was okay.

Jan. 19 at ANA

Speaking of Francouz, the Avs backup netminder was right back in the crease two nights later on the road. The result? Thirty-four saves and his first shutout of the season.

Not a bad couple of games for the one they call ‘Frankie.’

Jan. 20 at LAK

The Avs went back to Kuemper the very next night and the starter responded. Francouz was starting to come off strong and Kuemper needed to answer back and keep the friendly competition alive.

It wasn’t a shutout, but Kuemper was the highlight of the night for the Avs. He stole the game for Colorado, making 40 saves on a night where the Avs were outshot 41-27. It’s the largest shot discrepancy the team has had all season and an appropriate night for a goalie to steal the show.

Kudos, ‘Kuemps.’

Jan. 22 vs MTL

Calling this moment special might be a stretch. But the post-game press conference from Landeskog, the captain, was special in its own way.

Landeskog spoke to the media following a close 3-2 victory against the league-worst Canadiens and seemed unhappy and disappointed with Colorado’s performance. What made this special was the mindset shift the team took that night.

It was as if Landeskog was saying that the team no longer celebrates two points. They want to play the right way, to be prepared for the Stanley Cup playoffs. What Landeskog did that night after a victory was just a sign of the Avs’ hunger for more.

Jan. 24 vs CHI

Back to the goaltending, and another solid showing from the backup.

Francouz outdueled Fleury, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, to record his second consecutive shutout. What made it special was this mind-boggling stat:

Francouz is the first Avalanche goalie since Patrick Roy in 2003 to record two consecutive regular-season shutouts.

Jan. 26 vs BOS

This game had it all.

It was highlighted by the injury to MacKinnon, who will miss the All-Star Game after suffering a facial injury and a concussion. MacKinnon had to operate on his nose following a collision with Boston’s Taylor Hall.

The Avs were livid with the hit and tried on numerous occasions to force Hall to answer for it. But Hall rejected every opportunity. With their focus solely on Hall for nearly half the game, the Avalanche found themselves trailing 3-1 entering the third period.

But the theme of the month continued. This time, it took a beautiful feed from Kadri to Landeskog to tie the game with less than a minute remaining before the Avs won it in overtime.

Jan. 28 at CHI

What seemed like another solid performance from Francouz turned into one of the crazier endings to a game.

The Avs entered the third period up 2-0 before each team scored four goals. The memorable moment came in the form of not one but two empty-net goals. The Avalanche led 4-3 and got an empty-netter from Kadri. But the Blackhawks answered back to make it 5-4 before one more empty-net goal from Makar sealed it.

Jan. 30 vs BUF

How about a nice pass to cap off an incredible month. The Avalanche took an early lead agains the Buffalo Sabres and never looked back.

That goal, scored by Landeskog, came off one of the nicer passes we’ve seen from Rantanen all month — up there with his assist against Toronto.

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.

Follow him on Twitter @runwriteAarif

Listen to “Crazy Month” on Spreaker.