Avalanche Game 4 Plus/Minus: The Makar Hit, Georgiev Gives Them A Chance
As with every game, you take the good with the bad, so time to take a look at the pluses and the minuses in the game against the Kraken for the Avalanche.
– The Makar Hit
Well, might as well just get this one out of the way. I didn’t like the hit. The puck pretty clearly went out of play, and was nowhere near McCann when Makar went to finish the hit. Makar himself even said he didn’t know where the puck went, so I’m not sure why he threw the hit. McCann wasn’t expecting to be hit because he didn’t have the puck, and it sounds like there’s a chance he might not return this series.
Interference was the right call. They gave him the 5-minute major originally, but after review, lowered it to a standard minor penalty. Keep in mind, from what I saw from the press box, no refs had their hands up right after the play, so they must have changed their minds completely. Now the question will be if he gets a call from the league. I, personally, would be a bit surprised if he got suspended, but they may take the injury into account here. It wasn’t a smart play by Makar, and very uncharacteristic of him. After the game, he called it unfortunate and said he doesn’t want to injure anyone, but that might not save him if the league comes calling. Ultimately, it was a poor decision by Makar, and now he’s public enemy #1 in Seattle.
Speaking of that…
+ The Booing
I found it to be hilarious. The playoffs are where rivalries grow, and who could have seen a guy like Cale Makar becoming the most hated person in a series? The Kraken fans were really into it, and they kept it up all night long. It was actually impressive. Every time he touched the puck, they were ready to boo at the top of their lungs. At one point, the entire arena was signing Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen at the top of their lungs, but then the puck went to Makar, and they flipped the switch right away. I wonder what it will sound like at game six.
I think Cale might be enjoying it. pic.twitter.com/2cKsGHzY3D
— Evan Rawal (@evanrawal) April 25, 2023
I didn’t necessarily love either of the first two goals, but the Avalanche, once again, hung Georgiev out to dry all night long. The Kraken finished with almost twice as many shots as the Avalanche. The high danger chances finished in Seattle’s favor at 24-9. Georgiev was the only reason the Avalanche were able to stay in the game and get it to overtime, because they generated very little offense of their own. Makar’s hit overshadowed the fact that Georgiev had to make a stop on a breakaway against the Kraken’s top scorer.
Now, if he can eliminate some of these early goals going in, that would be ideal, but might also require the rest of the team to start the game ready to go.
– The Stars
Nathan MacKinnon being held to zero shots on goal in a playoff game sounds almost impossible, but it happened in game four. Mikko Rantanen scored two goals (which we’ll get to), but looked poor most of the night. Makar’s hit drew a penalty, which the Kraken scored on. Not the best night for the stars just two nights after they carried the team to victory. It’s unfortunate the team has to depend on them as much as they do, but that’s how the team is built right now.
+ Rantanen’s Finish
That’s now two games in a row where Rantanen looks pretty bad on the ice, but then he gets one chance, and shows off his elite finishing ability. The Avalanche were completely out of the game, but Rantanen’s ability to cleanly beat a goaltender when he gets just a little bit of time was enough to get them back in it. They may need more of that the way this series is going.
– Josh Manson
The Avalanche actually cleanly won the face-off on Daniel Sprong’s powerplay goal, but Manson failed to clear the puck with plenty of time. The team only managed to control 23% of the shot attempts with Manson on the ice, and that’s been a theme through four games. In overtime, he just got beat wide and had to take a penalty, his fourth of the series. It’s fairly obvious he’s fighting through whatever caused him to miss the majority of the second half of the season, and you start to wonder if they might be better off going with a fully healthy player like Brad Hunt.
– Missing The Target
Colorado finished with just 22 shots on net, but they had plenty of chances for more. They just failed to get the puck through to the net. The Kraken got in front of anything and everything, blocking 26 shots, and the Avalanche missed 11 more. That means of the 59 shot attempts the Avalanche took, only 37% actually hit the net. It’s hard to know if Grubauer was any good because the Avalanche barely tested him.
– Slow Starts
This is just absurd at this point. Four straight games where Seattle has come out and dominated from the start. Something has to change. The Avalanche have shown they can come from behind but a little more urgency is necessary from the drop of the puck.