In a span of just a couple of weeks, the situation for the Honda West’s #1 seed in the form of the Colorado Avalanche has gone from being up 2-0 against the Vegas Golden Knights to now facing elimination.
It’s a scenario most didn’t expect with how this team dispatched St.Louis in the first round and how they found ways to shut down Vegas early on in this series.
Tonight, Jared Bednar’s team has to figure out a way to battle back to extend this series. I’m taking a look at a few keys for the Avalanche to force a do-or-die game this weekend.
Limit the High Danger Chances:
When it comes to chances in close, Vegas has been leading the way. The Golden Knights lead the league in high danger chances according to Natural Stat Trick with 110 and sit second in the league in high danger goals with 15, second only to the New York Islanders. The high danger prowess has very much been on display as Vegas has the edge on Colorado in that stat 52-34 in five games. Vegas has also scored nine high danger goals. Cleaning up the chances in tight needs to a major priority.
Get Shots on Marc-André Fleury:
In the five games that the Golden Knights have sent their incumbent starter in between the pipes vs Colorado, and he has faced far less rubber than his counterpart in the form of Philipp Grubauer In Games 2-4, Fleury faced 25 shots or less with the absolute low number coming in Game 5 where Fleury would make 17 saves on 18 shots. Grubauer meanwhile after Game 1 has faced at least 30 shots in this series.
Vegas is outshooting Colorado 142-99. Getting shots through Golden Knight defender traffic will be another element that the Avs have to find a way to handle. In the Game 5 victory, the Golden Knights blocked 26 shots.
The Avs Need Strong A Reply From the Stars:
When this series began, it was a masterclass in offensive production from the big names of Colorado. Since Game 3, the biggest names have been having a hard time getting on the scoresheet. Mikko Rantanen has only scored twice in the series while Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon have yet to score since the Game 1, 7-1 Colorado victory.
To Nathan MacKinnon’s credit, he’s still one of the faces of the Avalanche that has been getting shots on net, in his series he’s been able to put up 20 shots on net in the five games so far.
The defense of Vegas has helped limit the production of Gabriel Landeskog, in this series he’s only been able to put one shot on net and was held without a shot entirely in Games 3 and 4. The depth of Vegas has been doing their best to keep this series going but they’ll need more help from the biggest point producers to ensure they will not be taking part in a handshake line at the end of tonight’s game.