This is a big one tonight for the Avalanche. That observation brought to you by Captain Obvious.
Here are some other observations and thoughts about Game 4 that have been on my mind:
- We’ll find out soon, but my hunch now is that it’ll be Pavel Francouz in goal tonight. That .892 save percentage of Darcy Kuemper is sticking out like a sore thumb. Frankie is 6-0 in the playoffs with a .906 SP. The numbers would suggest Frankie is the better play right now. I don’t like changing goalies in the middle of a series, but Kuemper just isn’t projecting a lot of confidence out there. He’s just been playing on his knees too much, overcommitting too much, just not stopping the puck enough.
- Speaking of sore thumbs, I’d say it’s 50-50 Nazem Kadri plays tonight. Way to go out on a limb, right?
- It’s obvious, after looking at all the video of him at practice, that he can stickhandle with a puck. But can that thumb take all the intense stick battles it requires to play this game effectively? And what happens when Corey Perry takes a tomahawk chop to it, which you know damn well he’ll do? Or, some other Lightning player. My hunch is the Avalanche would like to wait until Game 5 for a return. But this is a big one, and even Kadri at 80 percent could give a big lift.
- Cale Makar deserved the Norris Trophy. Full stop.
- He is the first Avalanche player to ever win the Norris.
- Devon Toews finishing seventh was a nice thing for him, too.
- Avalanche are -110 to win tonight at SuperBook Colorado, which lines up with most other online sportsbooks in Colorado.
- Free watch party hosted by the Avalanche tonight on the Quad at the Tivoli. More info here.
- I don’t see why it would be such an outlandish idea to dress Kurtis MacDermid as a forward tonight. I’d put in him for NAK, who’s been doing a whole lot of nothing in these playoffs (14 games, zero points). I’d love to see Big Mac give a good hard hit to Perry or a Nick Paul or a Steven Stamkos even.
- No goals in the series so far for Nathan MacKinnon. Tonight wouldn’t be a bad time to get that first one.
- Makar and Toews need to be much better tonight defensively than Game 3. That observation brought to you by Captain Obvious.
- Hey look, if this is another loss tonight, it’s still a best-of-three series with home-ice belonging to the Colorado Avalanche. That’s something we’d all have taken before the season, right?
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