Avalanche Set to Face Golden Knights
The Colorado Avalanche now know their opponent for the second round playoffs in the West Division, and it’s who was expected.
The Vegas Golden Knights will be in Denver to take on the Avalanche for the right to move on to the Stanley Cup semifinals.
This was the matchup that everyone in the NHL was looking for, and it could very well be that the winner of this series goes on to win the title. The Avalanche and the Golden Knights both registered 82 points during the regular season, but Colorado owned the tiebreaker.
Colorado will host Games 1 and 2 of this best-of-seven series, and the Avalanche will have the home-ice advantage throughout the postseason. This could be key in this series, especially as the Golden Knights have a terrific advantage when playing at home.
The Avalanche will be the more rested team after they swept the St. Louis Blues out of the first round in just four games. Colorado dominated that series, outscoring the Blues by a count of 20-7 in those matchups.
Vegas got pushed to the brink by the upstart Minnesota Wild in the First Round, and fatigue could play a factor with the Golden Knights. The number two seed was able to secure a 6-2 victory in Game 7 on Friday night to advance to the second round.
Both the Avalanche and Golden Knights have been betting favorites to win the Stanley Cup since before the 2021 NHL season began, and they remain in that position heading into this series. The winner of this series will be the number one seed for the remainder of the playoffs, but the next opponent will not be determined until the entire second round is complete.
Nathan MacKinnon and the Avalanche offense will have to find a way to solve Marc-Andre Fleury and a Vegas defense that does not give up many goals. Vegas has a much more experienced roster, but Colorado has bigger stars.
Nuggets Looking For 3-1 Series Lead
The Avalanche are not the only team from Denver looking for some playoff success this season, as the Denver Nuggets are also in the postseason. The Nuggets are facing off against the Portland Trail Blazers in the First Round, and this has been a fun series up to this point.
It was the Trail Blazers that got off to a fast start in this series, taking Game 1 in decisive fashion on Denver. The Nuggets have since responded by winning two straight games to steal home-court advantage back from the Trail Blazers.
Denver and Portland have developed a terrific rivalry in the last few seasons, but that rivalry has been mostly dominated by the Nuggets. Without Jamal Murray, this felt like the best chance for Portland to break through and find a way to upset Denver.
Nikola Jokic just continues to lead the way for the Nuggets, and the Portland Trail Blazers have no answer for him. Austin Rivers took over the fourth quarter in Game 33, and the Nuggets continue to find players to step up when called upon.
Game 4 is set for Saturday, and the Nuggets could take a commanding 3-1 series lead with a win.
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