It’s been almost eight months since the Colorado Avalanche hoisted the Stanley Cup and became champions for the first time in over twenty years. But as soon as the celebrations began, the big question had already started floating around. Can they do it again? Can they become back-to-back champions?
Since the turn of the century, only two teams have won the Cup two years in a row. The Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017 and most recently, the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020 and 2021. The accomplishment is rare and difficult to achieve, but now that question is often the first one asked when a team wins the storied trophy.
For the Avs, the chances of them winning back-to-back are still high, but it’s been an uphill battle since the beginning of the season for a multitude of reasons.
In the 2021-22 season, the Avalanche finished the regular season with a total of 119 points, which was the second highest total among teams, and swept two playoff series in the postseason meaning it took only 20 games to win the Cup. It was a remarkable year all around and is almost impossible to recreate, especially when talking about being that successful two years in a row.
The defending champs are not the same team they were a few months ago mostly due to the loss of some significant players in the offseason (Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky and Darcy Keumper to name a few), but the adversity they’ve faced this season has been relentless. Between injuries to their best players, bad puck luck and tough games resulting in losses, it’s easy to see why many are doubtful they can win the Cup again this year.
Despite the rollercoaster season so far though, Colorado is currently in a playoff spot and does have a real chance of not only making it to the postseason, but achieving the goal of winning the Stanley Cup once again. As crucial players start to return to the lineup and the team makes the push for the playoffs as it is now that time of the season, the goal is not out of reach. It may not be as simple as it was last year, but the possibility still remains alive.
Besides the internal challenges the Avs will have to hurdle over, there’s also the fact that there are several teams that are tearing it up this year like never before such as the Boston Bruins, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Winning is one thing, but beating the necessary teams especially in the postseason to get one step closer to the Cup may be a challenge the Avalanche didn’t face to that same extent last season.
Only time will tell who will win the Stanley Cup in a couple short months, but don’t rule out the Colorado Avalanche. It is still very possible that they find a way to become yet another team to win back-to-back championships.