The season didn't start the way Tyson Jost wanted.
The former UND forward had one goal, three points and a minus-1 rating in his first 26 games.
But on Thursday night, Jost was talking about his hot streak at a postgame press conference, while wearing his new Presidents Cup champions shirt after his Colorado Avalanche clinched the NHL's best regular-season record.
Jost finished the season with six goals, 14 points and a plus-15 rating in the last 28 games.
He ended the regular season on his best offensive run of the year, scoring four goals in the last six games, including a pair of tallies in the regular-season finale against the Los Angeles Kings.
"It's been awesome," said Jost, who centered Colorado's top line with star forward Nathan MacKinnon out of the lineup. "It feels good. Honestly, it feels better to get first place. It was a goal of ours starting in training camp. It's just an awesome group of guys. It's exciting. I'm happy I'm contributing."
The odds say Jost is the most likely former UND player to add his name to the Stanley Cup this season.
There are 13 former UND players chasing the Cup -- 11 as players and two as coaches -- but according to The Athletic's formula, the Avalanche have the strongest odds to win it at 38 percent. The next closest is assistant coach Dave Hakstol's Toronto Maple Leafs at 16 percent, followed by the Tampa Bay Lightning at 10 percent.
Vegas odds list the Avalanche as the favorites, followed by the Golden Knights, Maple Leafs and Lightning.
Jost and the Avalanche are taking on the 2019 Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in the first round.
With MacKinnon back, the Avalanche moved Jost to center Valeri Nichushkin and Brandon Saad on the third line.
"Jost is hot right now," Nichushkin said. "It's easy to play with him. I think he's on fire right now."
UND's other Cup hopefuls are T.J. Oshie with the Washington Capitals, Rocco Grimaldi with the Nashville Predators, Zach Parise and Luke Johnson with the Minnesota Wild, Tucker Poolman and Derek Forbort with the Winnipeg Jets, Austin Poganski with the Blues, Brock Nelson and Travis Zajac with the New York Islanders, Matt Kiersted with the Florida Panthers, Hakstol with the Maple Leafs and head coach Dave Tippett with the Edmonton Oilers.
Parise scratched: Parise is finding himself in an odd position to start the playoffs -- in the stands. Parise was a healthy scratch for Minnesota's first playoff game against the Vegas Golden Knights, a 1-0 Wild win in overtime. Parise's role with the Wild dwindled late in the season. He had seven goals and 18 points in 45 games for the Wild during the regular season.
Oshie to center: Oshie has been asked to play all three forward positions for the Washington Capitals this season. He has started the playoffs at center, a position he played extensively at UND, especially during his junior year. "I feel like I know the responsibilities for each position," Oshie said. "I'd probably like to do better on my faceoffs. Other than that, I feel pretty comfortable there."
Nelson on the board: Nelson became the first former UND player to get on the scoreboard during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, scoring in the third period for the New York Islanders, who toppled the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1.
Former UND players chasing the Stanley Cup
T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals
Rocco Grimaldi, Nashville Predators
Tucker Poolman, Winnipeg Jets
Derek Forbort, Winnipeg Jets
Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild
Luke Johnson, Minnesota Wild
Tyson Jost, Colorado Avalanche
Austin Poganski, St. Louis Blues
Brock Nelson, New York Islanders
Travis Zajac, New York Islanders
Matt Kiersted, Florida Panthers
Dave Hakstol, Toronto Maple Leafs (assistant coach)
Dave Tippett, Edmonton Oilers (head coach)