Under Siege: Game 4 Avalanche Preview & Notes vs. Vegas Golden Knights
LAS VEGAS — The Colorado Avalanche held a team meeting, as reported by Colorado Hockey Now, on Saturday night in Las Vegas. The Avalanche have been under siege by the Vegas Golden Knights in Games 2 and 3 yet still hold a 2-1 series lead in Round Two. Colorado had a commanding 3-0 series lead within their grasp but allowed two goals 45 seconds apart in the final minutes of Game 3 and lost 3-2.
The Game 4 puck drop is 5:30 p.m. local time, 6:30 p.m. MDT. The Avalanche needs a significant regroup, or Vegas will tie the series.
After Game 3, both our Adrian Dater and head coach Jared Bednar ripped the Avalanche.
The Avs have been outshot 83-45 in the last two games. Over the last five periods, Vegas has a 2-1 shot margin, and you don’t need to be a Vegas oddsmaker to understand a 2-1 ratio means greater odds of scoring more goals.
“There is no easy ice out there, that you’re going to have to earn every inch out there,” Bednar told media Saturday morning from T-Mobile Arena, where the Avs held an optional practice in which about 15 players skated under the tutelage of skills coach Shawn Allard.
Avalanche Lines Mashed, What to Watch:
Bednar shuffled the lines in the third period of Game 3, including removing Gabriel Landeskog from the Avs top line. Andre Burakovsky took the top-line duty. The Avalanche did not hold a morning skate on Sunday due to the early game.
So, we’ll find out during warmups if the line shuffles continue or Bednar goes back to the lineup that won six straight playoff games and 11 games overall.
We will also find out if the Colorado Avalanche have anything for Vegas. The Avs speed rushes which tortured Vegas in Game 1 have been absent. So, too, have victories in puck battles, consistent forecheck, and sustained offensive pressure.
Vegas made a point to play tight to MacKinnon and Rantanen. The Avalanche top line has not generated speed or pressure in Games 2 and 3, with Vegas shadows Chandler Stephenson and Mark Stone hounding them.
The Avalanche will need secondary scoring and pressure because Vegas isn’t going to let up on MacKinnon.
Colorado Avalanche Game Notes:
*Mikko Rantanen a 17-game playoff scoring streak, which dates back to last year. Rantanen is the first NHL player with points in 17 straight playoff games since Al MacInnis (19 games) with Calgary from 1989 to 1990.
*Philipp Grubauer won his first six playoff starts this season. That tied for the longest win streak in franchise playoff history and longest since the Avalanche moved to Colorado (Mario Gosselin, 1987). Grubauer won 10 straight playoff games dating back to last season, before the Game 3 loss.
*Nathan MacKinnon was the first NHL player to record at least eight goals AND 13 points through the first seven games of a playoff year since Brett Hull in 1991.
*Cale Makar has averaged .94 points per game in the playoffs. He trails only legends Paul Coffey (1.01), Brian Leetch (1.02), and Bobby Orr (1.24).
*This Day in History: June 6, 1996 – Peter Forsberg had a hat trick in the first period to propel the Avalanche to an 8-1 victory over the Panthers in Game 2 of the 1996 Stanley Cup Final at McNichols Arena.
*How to Watch: NBCsn.
Special Teams (Round Two):
Avalanche PP: 5-13, 38.5%.
Vegas PP: 1-7, 14.3%.