We’re previewing the upcoming playoff series between the Colorado Avalanche and the Seattle Kraken.
The time has come to make final predications on what happens in the series.
The Kraken played the Avalanche tough during the regular season. Really tough. But the Avalanche team that Seattle will face on Tuesday night is a lot different than the one they faced earlier in the season. In each regular season matchup, the Kraken caught the Avalanche without a top defenseman, and sometimes, a few of them. They also caught them twice on the second half of a back-to-back. That won’t be the case in this series.
The Kraken are a deep team up and down their lineup, and in all three matchups, they did a really nice job of limited the chances for Colorado. That’s how they won games this season. They don’t have one big stud on the blueline, but they get by with really strong team defense and depth scoring. Is that a recipe for success in the playoffs? I’m not so sure. You can only go head-to-head against the MacKinnon’s, Rantanen’s, and Makar’s of the world so many times before your below average goaltending starts to rear it’s ugly head.
As a team, I believe the Kraken are going to give the Avalanche some issues, and most of those issues will come in the bottom six matchups. The Avalanche, no doubt, have the big guns up front that Seattle doesn’t, but they don’t have the forward depth the Kraken do. That depth will allow them to keep games close, but without a gamebreaker, I’m not so sure they’ll be able to pull away. It’s kind of the same thing on defense. With a healthy Makar, Byram, Toews, and Girard, the Avalanche will be back to coming in waves, creating that extra layer of offense that Seattle won’t have. That might be the biggest difference in the series.
Is this a gimme? Yeah, maybe. Down the stretch, MacKinnon was the only player in the world who could challenge Connor McDavid for the title of “best player in the world.” The Kraken have a number of good defenders, but no great ones, and none that will have the ability to slow down 29. He’s on a mission and I don’t see any way that this Kraken team can stop him.
In the end, I think the high-end talent of the Avalanche and the sub-par goaltending of the Kraken will just be too much for Seattle to overcome. Strong teams with a lot of depth and no superstar talent typically have issues when the playoffs start, because it gets harder and harder to score goals. We’ve seen it for years with Carolina, and until Seattle gets a star or two (Beniers looks to be on his way), I think they’ll have issues in the postseason.
Avalanche in 5.