How did the Colorado Rapids finally get over the hump to reach the Stanley Cup Final?
We can’t say, but they did it.
The Rapids finished the season with a record of 12-4-4, a respectable record that included wins against the New York Rangers and Vancouver Whitecaps and a draw against the San Jose Earthquakes.
They also finished the regular season with seven shutouts, the most in the NHL.
Colorado was a surprise early in the year.
The Rapids had won only one game in the first six games, and only one in their first five games.
The team needed some time to adjust to the change in system, and the season began to unravel.
Colorado, which had struggled to score goals in the playoffs, scored twice in the opening seven games, a total that would have put them in the final.
But they never got any closer than that.
The Colorado Rapids are one of three teams that have scored at least one goal in seven consecutive games.
In the season opener, Colorado tied the Vancouver Whitecap for the most goals scored in a season by a new franchise in the league, with eight.
In fact, it was the most scored by a Colorado team in any single game since the 1996-97 season, when the Rapids tied the Whitecaps for the record with eight goals in a 7-0 win over the New England Revolution.
The last time a new team scored eight goals was back in 1996-1997, when they scored seven.
That run ended in a 4-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils, but it didn’t stop Colorado from playing well into the playoffs.
They started the year with three straight wins and two losses, and were undefeated by the end of March.
They then went into the postseason undefeated, going 4-0-1 before losing in the conference semifinals to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Colorado Rapids have been on the rise.
They had just one loss in their past five games before they got their first road victory in seven games.
In the past nine games, they have a 6-2-1 record and are tied for the league lead in goals scored.
The biggest surprise of the season was the emergence of rookie forward Jack McInerney.
McInnerney had been on a hot streak for Colorado after playing well during the playoffs and making an immediate impact in the team’s opening two games.
But he was held out of Colorado’s 4-3 loss to Columbus and was sent back to the Colorado Springs Stadium on an injury precaution.
McInnerneys impact on the team has been minimal.
But the Rapids have won nine of their past 10 games and are in the midst of a six-game unbeaten streak, which is the longest in the Eastern Conference.
Colorado has won eight straight games, with three of those wins coming by a combined score of 2-0 or less.
The next game is on Thursday night against the Montreal Impact, a team that has won 10 of its past 11.
The next four games are against teams that currently rank among the top four teams in the East, with the top two in the standings and a playoff spot in sight.
The teams that are tied atop the standings are:New York Red Bulls: 10 pointsNew York City FC: 8 pointsColumbus Crew SC: 7 pointsPhiladelphia Union: 5 pointsToronto FC: 5 ptsToronto FC 2: 1Vancouver Whitecaps: 5 pencePortland Timbers: 3 ptsReal Salt Lake: 3 penceNew England Revolution: 2 ptsColumbus 1: 2New York 2: 3New York 1: 3Columbus 2: 4Portland 2: 2Toronto 1: 1Real Salt 1: 4The final four games in the series are: Columbus Crew SC at home against Toronto FC, Columbus Crew at home versus New York City, and New York at home.
The standings are as follows: New York Red Bull Sporting Kansas City at home; New York FC at homeagainst Philadelphia Union, New York 2 at homeand New York 1 at home vs Vancouver Whitecrs.