KUSA - With their legs and wind back after the Olympic break, the Colorado Avalanche is ready for the final push to the end the regular season and look to the playoffs.
The Avs (39-17-5) are third in the Central Division and can make up ground Tuesday night with the game at first-place Chicago. The Blackhawks and St. Louis are tied with 86 points, and the Avs are three points back. The Blues play Saturday at Pepsi Center.
"It's a logjam up there for the division title, and we've talked about we'd love to put a banner up in our arena this year," Avs forward Matt Duchene said Monday before leaving on the road trip. "It's been awhile, and we're right there. They're going to have to slip a little bit and we're going to have to play really good hockey for it to happen."
Colorado has not won a division title since 2003, which was their last of eight consecutive division titles. The Avs have not been in the playoffs since 2010.
They play Thursday at Detroit, which moved to the East this season, before returning to Denver. Five of Colorado's next six games are against conference foes, and four are against teams ahead of the Avs in the Western Conference standings. Colorado currently is fifth in the West.
"Certainly I think we did a great job of putting ourselves in position," captain Gabriel Landeskog said, "but we're not satisfied. We want to win this division. We want to keep climbing."
The Avs have 21 games left and play nearly every other night until the regular season ends April 13.
Landeskog said the trip to Detroit will have added meaning with it being Nicklas Lidstrom night. The Red Wings will be retiring his No. 5 jersey.
"Like any game, we want to keep this train rolling and we're just looking ahead. ... For me it's going to be a little extra special with Nicklas Lidstrom night," said Landeskog, who grew up idolizing the fellow Swede Lidstrom. "We're looking forward to this road trip and keeping things going."