“It’s a tough test for us right now, what we’re going through,” Landeskog said. “A lot of guys in this dressing room haven’t gone through things like this at this level. Last year, we didn’t have a stretch like this of six weeks without a whole lot of wins. We have to stick together.”
The Leafs, by comparison, had earned 12 points since Dec. 19. If they had earned just four, like the Avs, they would have entered Monday outside of a playoff spot. Babcock is thankful that hasn’t happened, though Toronto took a 2-4-0 run into Monday’s game.
“I say it all the time, your ups have got to be longer than your downs,” Babcock said. “When you go down and things don’t go right, you’ve got to dig in and you’ve got to find a way out of it in a hurry.”
The Avs can be the thankful the West has not been that strong. Anaheim had lost 11 straight before Monday. Edmonton, three points back, had lost seven of 10. The other teams around them have not been able to make a run.
“It’s been weird lately,” said MacKinnon. “The West isn’t ... it’s tight, fortunately for us. We’ve lost 12 of 15 and we’re still in a playoff spot somehow. We’ll take it.”
The Avalanche have taken the attitude that whatever doesn’t eliminate them from the playoffs can only make them stronger.
“You go through something like this, you dig in, in a bunch of different areas,” Bednar said. “You fix some issues you have as a team, then it seems another one is popping up. It’s been happening for too long. There are no excuses at this point. The result is what we need.
“We went through a similar stretch at the start of the year and came out of it a much better team — the commitment level, the way we worked, attention to detail in our game. Every aspect of our game was real strong and we won a lot of games coming out of that. I’d like to think we can do that again.
“It’s gone on longer than I would have liked. It’s time to put up or shut up.”