NHL-high 104 points matches the 1995-96 Avs, Stanley Cup champions

NHL-high 104 points matches the 1995-96 Avs, Stanley Cup champions

That first Avalanche team, the one that opened its maiden season in Denver by defeating the Russian Five, aka the Detroit Red Wings, in the NHL’s official return to the city at McNichols Sports Arena on Oct. 6, 1995, went on to eliminate Detroit in the Western Conference finals and win the Stanley Cup.

It was a legendary squad – Colorado’s first major-league sports champion. Sakic, Forsberg, Roy, Foote, Lemieux.

MacKinnon, Makar, Rantanen, Landeskog, Kadri – the Avs’ current stars – are on an even better pace.

“Obviously, that was an incredible group (in 1995-96) and we think we have a really good group here, too,” Avs goalie Darcy Kuemper said after Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Penguins at Ball Arena. “Those are the guys that we’re trying to live up to with their Stanley Cups.”

That first Avs team finished the regular season with 104 points – second-most in the NHL, but a distant 27 behind the Red Wings, who still own the league record of 131 in an 82-game season.

The current Avs, who reached 104 points by downing Pittsburgh, won’t break Detroit’s record. But they can come close and potentially smash the club record of 118, set in the second Cup-winning season of 2000-01.

Colorado (49-14-6) has 13 remaining regular-season games, a stretch beginning with Tuesday’s rematch against the Penguins in Pittsburgh. If the Avs finish around their league-best .754 winning percentage, they’ll win nine or 10 of them and easily surpass 118, which is tied for sixth-best all-time over 82 games.

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