The Rocky Mountains, located in Colorado are prone to Avalanches, a powerful natural force of nature in which snow rolls down the mountain destroying everything in its path.
Joe Sacco 2009/10-
Pepsi Center 1999/00-
1995/96: The city of Denver had its second chance at hockey when the Nordiques moved to the Mile High City 13 years after the Rockies, who were a perennial doormat in their seven seasons in Colorado, bolted for New Jersey. However, in the team that would be renamed they were getting a genuine Stanley Cup Contender. On October 6th old McNichols Arena was jammed packed as the Avalanche defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. Already a contender the Avalanche acquired Claude Lemieux a proven tough playoff competitor in a trade with the former Rockies now known as the New Jersey Devils. Early on the Avs were strong posting a 16-7-4 record in early December. However, on December 6th they stole the heart of fans in the Providence of Quebec again this time acquiring Goalie Montreal Canadiens who had a falling out with his Coach along with Mike Keane for Andrei Kovalenko, Martin Rucinsky and Jocelyn Thibault. The deal would of give the Avalanche perhaps the greatest goalie of all time, and would spur the team on to a 47-25-10 record which was the second best record in the NHL. In the playoffs the Avalanche would get off to a shaky start as they split their first four games with the Vancouver Canucks. The Avalanche would find themselves in trouble again trailing late in Game 5 at home. However, Joe Sakic would tie the game with five minutes left and win in overtime as the Avs to a 3-2 series lead in Vancouver where they eliminated the Canucks in Game 6. In the second round the Sakic was the hero in overtime again as he scored in the third overtime of Game 4 as the Avalanche evened their series with the Chicago Blackhawks. The dramatic win would have a snowball effect as the Avalanche won the next two games to take the series in six games. Facing the Detroit Red Wings who had won a record 61 games the Avalanche continued to roll winning the first two games in Detroit. The Wings would rebound to win Game 3 in Denver but the Avalanche would take a 3-1 series lead with a win in Game 4. After the Red Wings took Game 5 in Detroit the Avalanche completed the upset as Joe Sakic scored two goals bring up his playoff total to 17 with a win at McNichols in Game 6. Forced to start the Finals without Claude Lemieux who was suspended for two games for a nasty crosscheck on Kris Draper in Game 6, the Avalanche would not miss a beat dominating the Florida Panthers in the first two games at home winning by a collective 11-3 score. As the series shifted to Miami Joe Sakic was the hero again scoring his 18th goal in the 2nd period to give the Avalanche a 3-2 win and a 3-0 series lead. Looking to complete the sweep the Avalanche were stymied by John Vanbiesbrouck. However Patrick Roy would keep the puck out of the net as well and the game went scoreless into a third overtime, where Uwe Krupp beat Vanbiesbrouck on a slap shot to clinch the Stanley Cup. Joe Sakic who led all playoff scorers with 18 goals and 34 points would earn the Conn Smythe.
1996/97: Coming off a Stanley Cup Championship in their inaugural season the Avalanche proved it was not a fluke as they won the President's Trophy for the best overall record in the NHL with a mark of 49-24-9. In the playoffs the Avalanche would roll past the Chicago Blackhawks in six games and the Edmonton Oilers in five games to set up a rematch with the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals. Over the season following their initial playoff match up the Avalanche and Red Wings engaged in several brawls one that included Goalies Patrick Roy and Chris Osgood going one on one. The Avalanche would get off to good start capturing Game 1. However, the Wings would rally to win the next three games and take a 3-1 series lead. Facing elimination for the first time the Avalanche would erupt for a 6-0 win in Game 5. However, the Wings would end the Avalanche's reign with a 3-1 win in Game 6.
1997/98: In their third season in the Mile High City the Avalanche remained at the top of the NHL elites winning their third straight Division title with a record of 39-26-17. However, in the playoffs the Avalanche would slip up in the first round losing to the Edmonton Oilers in seven games. The playoff stumble would cost Coach Marc Crawford his job as he is replaced by Bob Hartley following the season.
1998/99: With came expansion came realignment and the Avalanche were placed in the newly formed Northwest Division. However in their new Division the Avalanche remained at the top of the heap winning their fourth straight Division title. (fifth if you count their final year in Quebec while posting a 44-28-10 record.) Along the way the Avalanche got an infusion of youth as Chris Drury captured the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie. In the playoffs the Avalanche would top the San Jose Sharks in 6 games to set up a second round series with Detroit Red Wings. The Avalanche would quickly find themselves in a hole as they lost the first two games at home. However, the Avalanche would rock Detroit with an 11-goal landslide to even the series with wins in Game 3 and Game 4. From there the Avalanche would roll winning the next two games to take the series in six games. In the Western Conference Finals for the third time in four years the Avalanche would battle the Dallas Stars back and forth through the first four games before taking a 3-2 series lead home for Game 6. However, the Stars would comeback to win the series in seven games claiming the final two games with identical 4-1 scores.
1999/00: For their fifth season in Denver the Avalanche had a shimmering new arena as the Pepsi Center replaced the crumbling McNichols Arena. In their new home the Avalanche would continue to roll over their division opponents winning their 6th straight division title with a 42-29-11-1 record. As the playoff approached the Avalanche added Ray Bourque one of the top defenseman in NHL history, in a trade with Boston Bruins. In the playoffs the Avalanche rolled their way to the Western Conference Finals again beating the Phoenix Coyotes and Detroit Red Wings each in five games. However, the Avalanche would fall to the Dallas Stars in a hard fought seven game war in which five games were decided by one goal.
2000/01: The season started out as a mission for Ray Bourque who desperately wanted to win the Stanley Cup in his final season. From the start of the season it was clear that the Avalanche would be the team to beat as they rolled to the President's Trophy with a 52-16-10-4 record. Along the way another legend Patrick Roy made history as he broke Terry Sawchuck's record for career wins with 448. In the playoffs the Avalanche would get off to a fast start as they swept the Vancouver Canucks in four straight games. However, in the second Round the Avalanche would hit a bumpy road as they lost back-to-back 1-0 games to the Los Angeles Kings after taking a 3-1 series lead. Facing elimination the Avalanche would burry the Kings 5-1 in Game 7. The Avalanche would find things easier as they blasted the St. Louis Blues in five games. In the finals the Avalanche faced the New Jersey Devils who once called Denver home. After the two teams split the first four games the Avalanche appeared to be in trouble as they dropped a crucial fifth game at home to fall behind 3-2 in the series. However facing elimination in New Jersey, Patrick Roy would rise to the occasion by stopping all 24-shots, while setting the career record for playoff shutouts in a 4-0 Avalanche win that sent the series to a seventh Game. Back at the Pepsi Center in Game 7 Roy was a brick wall again stopping 21 of 22 shots as Alex Tanguay scored twice in an Avalanche 3-1 win. Patrick Roy would go on to win his record third Conn Smythe award, as Ray Bourque road off into the sunset with the Stanley Cup.
2001/02: Despite missing Peter Forsberg for the entire regular season due to an assortment of injuries the Avalanche continued their reign at the top of the division winning their seventh division title in seven seasons since moving to Colorado with a record of 45-28-8-1. Along the way Patrick Roy became the first goalie to win 500 career games. In the playoffs the Avalanche were pushed to seven games by the Los Angels Kings for the second year in a row after grabbing a 3-1 series lead. Once gain the Avalanche would burry the Kings in Game 7 winning 4-0. In the second round it was the Avalanche who needed to rally after being down 3-2 against the San Jose Sharks. After falling behind 1-0 late in the 2nd period the Avalanche would tie the game 34 seconds later and win the game 2-1 in overtime on a goal by Peter Forsberg who returned for the playoffs in midseason form. In Game 7 Patrick Roy would make 27 saves as Peter Forsberg scored the games only goal as the Avalanche made the Western Conference Finals for the 6th time in 7 seasons since moving to Colorado. Facing their hated rivals the Detroit Red Wings the Avalanche would take a 3-2 series lead to the Pepsi Center for Game 6. However, the Avalanche would not score another goal as the Red Wings forced Game 7 with a 2-0 win. In Game 7 it would only get worse as Patrick Roy had a rare bad game as the Red Wings buried the Avalanche with a 7-0 win in Detroit.
2002/03: With Patrick Roy showing his age and struggling early the Avalanche get off to a slow start, with Joe Sakic sitting out much of the first half due to injuries. With the Avalanche holding a mediocre 10-8-9-4 record on December 16th, Coach Bob Hartley is fired despite leading the Avs to atleast the Western Conference Finals in his first four seasons. Under his replacement Tony Granato, the Avalanche would begin to turn things around as the team got healthy, as the season wound down the Avalanche played their best hockey as Peter Forsberg made a run for the scoring title. Forsberg charge for the scoring title also lifted the Avalanche into contention for a record ninth straight division title dating back to their final year in Quebec. On the final day of the season Pete Forsberg netted a goal to win the scoring title and lead the Avalanche into first place for the first time all season, as they finished one point ahead of the Vancouver Canucks with a record of 42-19-13-8. In the playoffs the Avalanche got off to a shaky start as they dropped Game 1 to the Minnesota Wild at home 4-2. However, the Avalanche would recover to easily win the next three games as they seemed to be cruising to the second round with a 3-1 series lead. However, with a chance to close things out at home in Game 5, the Avs would fall behind 3-0, on the way to a 3-2 loss. The Avalanche would fall behind again in Game 6 on the road but rallied with two late goals to force overtime. However once again the Avs would be stunned as Richard Park beat Patrick Roy in overtime to force a 7th game. Playing Game 7 at home less the 24 hours later the Avalanche would find themselves pushed to overtime again where Andrew Burnett out faked out Roy to give the Wild a stunning 3-2 win which eliminated the Avalanche. The stunning playoff collapse would bring an end to Goalie Patrick Roy's career who retired holding several major records for goalies including wins at 551.
2003/04: With the retirement of Patrick Roy the Avalanche decided to add some scoring punch to help his replacement David Aebischer signing free agents Paul Karaka and Teemu Selanne. However, each failed to live up to expectations as neither scored 20 goals. However Aebischer played well in his first year starting posting a 2.09 GAA as the Avalanche were in the hunt for their 10th straight division title. Battling the Vancouver Canucks down the stretch the fight for the Northwest Division turned ugly when Canucks star Todd Bertuzzi sucker punched Steve Moore from behind late in a March 8th game leaving the Avalanche Center with a broken neck. The Avs seemed to have the division in their hands, when they struggled down the stretch winning just two of their last ten games as their reign as division champs came to an end as they lost the division by one point to the Canucks posting a record of 40-22-13-7. In the playoffs the Avalanche got on track easily dispatching the Dallas Stars in five games. However in the second round David Aebischer struggled allowing nine goals in the first two games as the Avs lost both games on the road to the San Jose Sharks. Upon arriving home Aebischer would play better allowing just one goal, buy the Avs were held scoreless falling behind 3-0. In Game 4 facing a sweep Aebischer was sharp again stopping all 27 shots as the Avs won in overtime 1-0 on a goal by Joe Sakic. Sakic would again score the overtime winner in Game 5 as the Avs began to climb back in the series. However with a chance to force Game 7 with a win at home the Avalanche ran out of gas losing Game 6 by a score of 3-1.
2004/05: Season Cancelled Due to Lock Out
2005/06: Being one of the NHL's biggest spending teams, the Avalanche were hurt by the new Salary Cap established during the lock out, as they lost Adam Foote, Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya and Peter Forsberg. Despite the heavy losses the Avalanche managed to play well through the first two months as posted a 14-8-3 record through 25 games. However they hardly played consistent hockey as Goalie David Aebischer struggled, and was eventually traded to the Montreal Canadiens for Jose Theodore. When the deal was completed Theodore was injured, and the Avalanche had to back up Petr Budaj could keep them in the playoff chase. Budaj would hold his own, but Theodore would struggle upon his return losing three of four starts, as the Avalanche finished with a 43-30-9 record, and only managed the seventh seed. Despite struggling down the stretch the Avalanche seemed reenergized by the start of the playoffs as they thumped the Dallas Stars with two five goal games to take a 2-0 lead on the road, then took a 3-0 series lead on a 4-3 overtime win as Andrew Brunette tied the game with 57 seconds left then Alex Tanguay won it for the second game in a row, 69 seconds in to overtime. After losing Game 4 at home the Avalanche got another overtime win on a goal by Andrew Brunette to eliminate the Stars in 5. However, in the second round the Avalanche would never be in the series as they lost the first two games to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim by a combined score of 8-0. As the series shifted to Colorado the Avalanche had their chances in Game 3 but lost in overtime 4-3, as Ducks went on to complete the sweep with a 4-1 win in Game 4. Following the season the Avalanche would re-sign Captain Joe Sakic, but said good bye to Alex Tanguay, Dan Hinote and Rob Blake.
2006/07: The season began with the Avalanche in transition as only Joe Sakic and Milan Hejduk were left from the 2001 Stanley Cup Championship team, while the rest of the roster was full of rookies like Paul Stastny, the son of Quebec Nordiques legend Peter Stastny. Not surprisingly the Avalanche got off to a slow start as they held a mediocre 18-18-2 record heading into the New Year. In the second half the Avalanche would play considerably better as they made a late run for the playoffs with a 15-2-2 run for the playoffs, as Stastny established himself as one of the league's premiere young goal scorers with a 16-game point scoring streak as he was one of three finalist for the Calder Trophy with 28 goals and 50 assists. However, it would not be enough to get the Avalanche into the playoffs as they missed the postseason by one point with a record of 44-31-7.
2007/08: After missing the playoffs for the first time since moving to Colorado, the Avalanche signed free agent Defenseman Scott Hannan and left winger Ryan Smyth with the hopes of getting back to the playoffs. However, for the first two months the Avalanche continued to play mediocre hockey, posting a 13-10-1 record. Despite a three game losing streak to end December, the Avalanche began showing signs of getting going as they closed out 2007, winning the 1000th game in franchise history against the St. Louis Blues 9-5 on December 9th. However, as the New Year began the Avalanche continued to play inconsistent hockey, as every time it appeared they were about to go on a run, they would suffer a losing streak. Hoping to finish the season strong the Avalanche looked to their past to get the team back into the playoffs signing unrestricted free agent Peter Forsberg on February 25th, and re-acquiring Adam Foote from the Columbus Blue Jackets a day later. The moves paid off as the Avalanche finished the season strong earning the sixth seed in the playoffs with a record of 44-31-7. In the playoffs the Avalanche faced the Northwest Division Champion Minnesota Wild in the first round. Thanks to an overtime goal by Joe Sakic, the Avs were able to get off to a fast start stealing Game 1 on the road 3-2. However, the Wild would recover to win the next two games in overtime, forcing the Avs into a must win Game 4 at the Pepsi Center. Thanks to an offensive explosion, the Avalanche were able to get that win, as five different players scored in a 5-1 win to even the series at two games apiece. Back in Minnesota for Game 5, the Avalanche took control of the series with two goals in 79 seconds in the third period for a 3-2 win. The Avalanche would close out the Wild, as Goalie Jose Theodore stopped 35 of 36 shots, including a third period flurry in a 2-1 win in Game 6. The Avalanche would find an old familiar foe in the second round, as they face the Detroit Red Wings. However, unlike the wars of the past this battle would be over quickly, as the Wings buried the Avalanche sweeping the series in four games, while out scoring them 21-9. The Red Wings would go on to win the Stanley Cup the Avalanche would go back to the drawing board, firing Coach Joel Quenneville and replacing him with Tony Granato.
2008/09: Tony Granato's second tenure as head coach of the Avalanche would get off to a rough start as they lost their first three games to start the season. The Avs would win their next five games, but played mediocre hockey much of the first three months of the season, as they entered the New Year with a 19-17-1 record. However, they would have to finish the season without Captain Joe Sakic who played just 15 games, before a herniated disk forced him to finish what was planned to be his final season early. In January the bottom would fall out as the Avalanche slid out of the playoff race and into last place, as they won just four times. The Avalanche would continue to play awful hockey in February as they just five games. They would eventually go on to finish with the worst record in the Western Conference at 32-45-5, which was also their worst season since moving to Colorado. Following the season the Avalanche would undergo wholesale changes as new management led to a new Coach in Joe Sacco while Ryan Smyth was traded to the Los Angeles Kings, ending two disappointing seasons in Colorado. Finishing with such a poor record enabled the Avalanche to get some real talent in the draft, as they selected Matt Duchene with the third overall pick and began the process of building around youth.
2009/10: For the first time since moving to Denver, the Avalanche had a new captain, as Adam Foote replaced the retired Joe Sakic. The Avs would honor their longtime captain on opening night by retiring his number 19 as the Avalanche beat the San Jose Sharks 5-2. Under new Coach Joe Sacco, the Avalanche would get off to a terrific start, losing just one of their first 13 games in regulation. The Avalanche would not be able to keep up the pace as they struggled in November, but as the New Year began they still were sitting near the top of the Western Conference with a record of 23-13-6. The Avs would continue to contend for the Northwest Division title as they went into the Olympic Break with a record of 35-50-6. Hoping to add some veteran leadership, the Avalanche acquired Stephane Yelle from the Carolina Hurricanes at the trade deadline. Yelle, was a big part of the Avalanche cup teams in 1995 and 2001, and was in his final season looking for one last playoff run. Initially the Avalanche continue to play well as they won five of eight games after the break. However, as the season came to an end the Avalanche went into a tailspin, winning just three of their last 13 games. Despite the struggles the Avalanche would hold on to the eighth seed in the playoffs with a record of 43-30-9. In the playoffs the Avalanche would face the San Jose Sharks. Game 1 would be won by the Avalanche, as Goalie Craig Anderson had a strong game; while Chris Stewart scored the game winner with 50 seconds left to give the Avs a 2-1 road win. Game 2 would be a different story as Anderson faced 52 shots. However, the Avalanche held a 5-4 lead late, until Joe Pavelski scored with 32 seconds remaining to force overtime. In OT the Sharks would even the series with a 6-5 win, on a power play goal by Devin Setoguchi. Coming home to the Pepsi Center it was Anderson again who played the hero stopping all 51 shots he faced as the Avs won 1-0 in overtime as Dan Boyle's pass accidently slip past Sharks Goalie Evgeni Nabokov 51 seconds into OT. Ryan O'Reilly would get the credit as the goal scorer as the last Avalanche to touch the puck. Game 4 would also go to overtime as Anderson continued to be sharp in goal. However, the Sharks would win 2-1 to even the series on Joe Pavelsk's goal at 10:24. In Game 5 back in San Jose, it would all unravel for the Avalanche, as the Sharks took control of the series with a 5-0 win. They would go on to close out the Avalanche with a 5-2 win in Denver in Game 6.
2010/11: After making the playoffs in 2010, the Avalanche had a quiet off-season, as Owner Stan Kroenke purchased the NFL's St. Louis Rams, and had to give the Avs to his son do to NFL rules. The Avalanche suffered an early setback as Goalie Craig Anderson suffered a knee injury in warm ups on October 26th. Despite the injury which kept Anderson out for a month, the Avalanche played well with back up Peter Budaj. Anderson would return in December, as the Avalanche has a solid six game winning streak that would have them sitting at 20-13-5 at the start of the New Year. After a mediocre January, the Avalanche would go on a landslide after the All-Star Break, as the won just one game in February, suffering a nine game losing streak, as Peter Forsberg returned and played just two games before retiring. At the trade deadline the Avalanche would deal Craig Anderson to the Ottawa Senators for Brian Elliott in a swab of struggling goalies. The struggles would continue in March, as had just two shoot out wins, dropping hopelessly out of playoff contention. The Avalanche would go on to finish the season with a record of 30-44-8, their worst record since moving to Denver, as Captain Adam Foote retired ending a 20 year career spent mostly with the Quebec Nordiques and Colorado Avalanche franchise.
2011/12: The Avalanche would overhaul the goaltending position during the off-season as they acquired Semyon Varlamov from the Washington Capitals for a second round draft pick, while Jean-Sebastien Giguere was signed for a veteran presence to the younger Varlamov. In the draft the Avalanche continued to stock pile young talent selecting Gabriel Landeskog with the second overall pick, while Duncan Siemens was chosen with the 11th pick. The young Avalanche played well early, especially on the road, as they won six of seven away from the Pepsi Center in October. However, in November they would struggle, winning just four games. The Avs would start to turn things around in December, as they won seven of their last eight games, to enter the New Year with a record of 21-18-1. The Avalanche would start 2012 with two wins, but would struggle the rest of January, as they stayed on the fringe of the playoff race. Led by the strong play of Gabriel Landeskog, who was named Rookie of the Month in February, the Avalanche made a run with five wins in six games to enter March with a record of 33-27-4. However, a sluggish March would end any playoff hopes as the Avalanche missed the playoffs by seven points, posting a record of 41-35-6. There were plenty of bright spots, as Gabriel Landeskog won the Calder Trophy as the best rookie in the NHL as he finished tied for the most points among rookies with 52, while scoring a team high 22 goals. The Avalanche also got strong seasons from Ryan O'Reilly who had a tem high 55 points and Paul Stastny who had 53.
First Game Played October 6, 1995
1000 Chopper Place
Denver, CO 80204
Phone: (303) 405-1100
Mark Crawford 1995/96-1997/98
Bob Hartley 1998/99-2002/03
Tony Granato 2002/03-2003/04
Joel Quenneville 2005/06-2007/08
Tony Granato 2008/09
Joe Sacco 2009/10-Present
McNichols Arena 1995/96-1998/99
Pepsi Center 1999/00-Present
Stanley Cup Champions: (2)
Stanley Cup Finals: (2)
Conference Finals: (6)
1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002
President's Trophy: (2)
Division Champions: (8)
1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
Playoff Appearences: (12)
1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010
Hall of Famers: (3)
Ray Borque D 1999-2001
Patrick Roy G 1995-2003
Joe Sakic C 1995-2008
Jack Adams Award (Top Coach):
Calder Trophy (Top Rookie): (2)
1999 Chris Drury C
2012 Gabriel Landeskog LW
Masterton Trophy (Dedication):
Lady Byng (Gentlemanly Play): (1)
2001 Joe Sakic C
Selke Trophy (Defensive Fwd):
Norris Trophy (Defenseman):
Vezina Trophy (Top Goalie):
Hart Trophy (NHL MVP): (2)
2001 Joe Sakic C
2003 Peter Forsberg RW
Retired Numbers: (4)
19 Joe Sakic C 1995-2009
21 Peter Forsberg 95-04, 07/08, 10/11
33 Patrick Roy G 1995-2003
77 Ray Borque D 1999-2001
99 Wayne Gretzky (Retired by NHL)
Joe Sakic 1995/96-2008/09
Adam Foote 2009/10-2010/11
Milan Hejduk 2011/12
Gaabriel Landeskog 2012/13-Present
All-Star Games Hosted: (1)
All-Star Game MVP: (1)
2004 Joe Sakic C
Conn Smythe (Playoff MVP): (2)
1996 Joe Sakic C
2001 Patrick Roy G
2000/01 (52-16-10-4; 118pts)
2010/11 (30-44-8; 68 pts)
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©MMXII Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Hockey League. This site is not affiliated with the Colorado Avalanche or the NHL. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer's Sports Logos Page.
Page created on Page created on February 18, 2003. Last updated on October 27, 2012 at 11:20 pm ET.
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