The Colorado Avalanche are headed back to the NHL Playoffs in 2024. And they enter the tournament with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. Colorado entered last year's playoffs as the defending Stanley Cup champion. However, they fell in seven games to an upstart Seattle Kraken team. This year, they take on the Winnipeg Jets in round one.

Colorado and Winnipeg have already met ahead of the end of the regular season. And it was not pretty for the Avalanche or their fans. The Jets completely dominated the game and cruised to a 7-0 victory. That victory could very well lead to Winnipeg receiving home-ice advantage, as well.

Of course, it'd be shortsighted to expect the Avalanche to have repeat performances in the NHL Playoffs. However, the Jets are certainly a nightmare matchup for Colorado even without that recent lopsided loss. With that in mind, let's take a look at why Winnipeg may give the Avalanche fits in the NHL Playoffs.

The Jets are a less-than-ideal matchup

Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele (55) controls the puck ahead of Colorado Avalanche right wing Valeri Nichushkin (13) in the third period at Ball Arena.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Winnipeg Jets came alive this season. In fact, they were on top of the NHL at one point this year. They have cooled off in recent weeks. That said, they are on quite the roll now. Winnipeg has won six games on the trot, including their 7-0 destruction of the Avalanche.

This is a matchup that the Avalanche are certainly capable of winning. However, the Jets are not a team to be taken lightly in the NHL Playoffs. They are one of the stingiest defensive units in the entire league. Furthermore, they have possibly the best goalie in the Western Conference in Connor Hellebuyck.

Winnipeg is not exactly a high-octane offensive team. Especially compared to the Avalanche. However, they can certainly score goals when needed. Veteran Mark Scheifele has recorded his third 70+ point season in five years. Defenseman Josh Morrissey is on the verge of another 70-point season in his own right. And Kyle Connor has 32 goals in 64 games this year.

The Jets may not be at the top of the list in terms of Stanley Cup contenders. However, they certainly can go on a deep run. If their defense and goaltending hold up, Winnipeg will push the Avalanche to their limit in the first round of the NHL Playoffs.

Winnipeg are perfect foe for Avalanche

The Jets and Avalanche are certainly going to give hockey fans an entertaining series. And part of that is because they are a perfect matchup for each other. Colorado is the most productive offensive team in the league. At this time, they lead the lead in goals for per game with 3.68.

Winnipeg, meanwhile, are the best at preventing goals. The Jets lead the league in fewest goals allowed per game (2.41) and team save percentage (.923). Furthermore, the team has allowed the fewest total goals of any team in the NHL this season with 193.

The Avalanche enter the NHL Playoffs with a high-powered offense led by Nathan MacKinnon. The Jets counter with one of the best defensive units in the league. And their goaltending tandem of Connor Hellebuyck and Laurent Brossoit has proven to be elite this year.

They say defense wins championships, and that will be put to the test in this series. If there is any team that is equipped to shut down MacKinnon and the Avalanche, it's the Jets. Colorado has to find a way to limit the goals they allow in this series. They may not get many chances to climb back into games if they fall behind early on.