TORONTO – I’ve covered a lot of Avalanche teams, but I haven’t seen one that wanted to win a January regular-season game quite as much as the one that played Monday night here in the Big Smoke. The final from Scotiabank Arena: Avalanche 6, Toronto Maple Leafs 3.

Before the game, as I was walking through the corridor by the Leafs dressing room, I witnessed Toronto coach Mike Babcock sound like Mel Gibson in “Braveheart”, bellowing some kind of call to arms to whoever was listening. Walking past that same Toronto room after the game?


Inside the Avalanche room after the game: Jubilation. Hoots and hollers that could be heard from a hundred feet away.

Victory, at last, belonged to the Colorado Avalanche.

“We don’t fear any team,” Avs defenseman Mark Barberio told BSN Denver. “We know if we bring our legs and our speed, we can skate and play with anybody. This has been in the works. This has been coming. There’s been a few games in a row now where I think we deserved a better fate. I think it just all came together tonight. We just weren’t going to take no for an answer.”

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Adrian Dater has been covering the Avs since their inception. In 2015, he became the lead NHL national columnist with Bleacher Report, where he worked until 2017 before joining BSN Denver.