RAPID REACTION: Avalanche Depth Struggles to Keep Up
After each Colorado Avalanche playoff game, I’ll put out some rapid reaction on what I’m feeling right after the game, before gathering more thoughts for Plus/Minus in the morning.
The biggest concern I had coming into the series in regards to the Seattle Kraken was their depth up front. They have four lines that can skate, and each line can contribute offensively.
The Avalanche? Yeah, they don’t have that. Not right now, at least. Jared Bednar hinted at it after the game, but you have to wonder if this game is enough for him to split up Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen.
The second line not only failed to generate much of anything offensively, but they were on the ice for two of the three Kraken goals. J.T. Compher, who had a strong regular season, is going to be under the microscope in the postseason, as there are still legit questions around whether or not he can fill that second line center role on a Cup winning team.
Tuesday night was not a good start.
He generated a single shot attempt in the game, and that attempt came off a Kraken defender passing the puck into his own teammates skates. Valeri Nichushkin was a little better, but pucks seemed to be rolling off his stick all night long. 8 of the 12 forwards on the Avalanche finished with zero or one shot on net at even strength.
The top line was far from perfect, but they at least generated some chances. The problem is that they can’t be the only line creating dangerous opportunities.
Give the Kraken credit. They played exactly how I expected them to. They were physical, they were quick, and they didn’t give the Avalanche any easy chances. I’m not sure that’s going to change much the rest of the series.
This isn’t the Avalanche team of last season. By now, I figure everyone has realized that. They aren’t nearly as deep up front, and it shows on a nightly basis. Anyone expecting them to blow teams out of the water like last years team did is setting themselves up for disappointment.
There’s no reason to panic after a single loss, but Tuesday night might be a good indication that the best path forward is separating the two star forwards. They played apart most of the season, and it’s probably time to try it again.