Avalanche Come Alive Late
The Colorado Avalanche went 2-1 during the round-robin style tournament in the Western Conference.
That result made the Avalanche the number two seed in the West, and they drew the Arizona Coyotes in the first round of the playoffs.
Arizona looked anything but a number seven seed in the first game of the playoff series on Wednesday, battling the Avalanche the entire contest. Finally, the vaunted Colorado offense came through, and it propelled the team to a 3-0 win in the series opener.
The Coyotes came into this series knowing that they aren’t as explosive as the Avalanche, and they attempted to turn this into a defensive struggle. That plan succeeded for much of game one, but the Avalanche just have too much offense to be shut down for long.
Colorado exploded for three goals late in the third period, including two goals within 10 seconds. Nazem Kadri ended the long scoreless drought on the power-play, and then the offense picked up from that point.
Star Nathan MacKinnon was held without a shot on goal in the game one victory, and that is something that can’t happen again. Arizona paid a ton of attention to the young star, but MacKinnon is simply too good to get shut down like that again.
Arizona managed to get just 14 shots on goal in the loss, while the Avalanche accounted for 40 shot attempts. Colorado seemed to dominate the game from the jump, but goaltender Darcy Kuemper was able to keep them out of the back of the net.
Philipp Grubauer will be credited with a shutout win in the series opener, but he didn’t face much pressure the entire night. Arizona was content with playing a puck possession game, and they didn’t generate very many scoring opportunities.
Game 2 of the series will take place on Friday at 2 pm ET, and the Avalanche are expecting the same type of gameplan from the Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes are extremely physical as well, but the Avalanche are determined to open up the game a little more on Friday.
Real Chance to Win Stanley Cup
This is the best chance that MacKinnon has ever had to win the Stanley Cup, and most sportsbooks would agree. Colorado has been a favorite to win the Stanley Cup since the preseason, and their odds have shortened since the NHL restart.
The first step for the Avalanche is to win the Western Conference, and they are one of two clear favorites to accomplish that feat. The Vegas Golden Knights are listed as the favorites at +250, but the Avalanche are right behind them at +275.
The reigning Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues are next on the list at +450, and most NHL experts believe that the West is a three-team race.
Ironically, the Colorado Avalanche are actually listed as a co-favorite to win the Stanley Cup along with two other teams. The Avalanche, Golden Knights, and Philadelphia Flyers are all listed at +600 to win the NHL title this season.
Its proving to be a good week for COlorado sports, as the Rockies climb up the league as well.
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