Game Four looked a lot closer on the scoreboard than it was on the ice for the Colorado Avalanche. And now, down Cale Makar, they’ll need to bounce back in Game Five. If they don’t, they’ll be headed back to Seattle with their season on the line.
Here are three keys for the Avalanche if they want to win Game Five.
Compher Gets Going
I’ve written a lot about how the Avalanche haven’t gotten anything from their secondary scoring in this series, and it remains true. But it’s also true that J.T. Compher has not given them a whole lot at second line center. They need a lot more.
In a little over 58 minutes of even strength time, Compher has generated only seven shot attempts, five of which hit the net, and has zero points. He’s only winning 44.29% of his face-offs as well. His best chance probably came in the third period of Game Four, when he had a great look at the top of the circle. He missed the net by a good bit.
It was fair to wonder whether or not Compher had what it takes to be a second-line center before the playoffs started, and it’s probably still fair to question it a bit. A big Game Five from a player who has a history of stepping up in big moments would help quiet the doubters.
Some Energy Early
This is an absolute no brainer, but it’s proven to be difficult for the Avalanche through four games. Seattle has come out swinging every game. The Avalanche, on the other hand, have been on their heels. It just cannot continue. Colorado has to come out and push the pace early, setting the tone for the rest of the game and getting the crowd into it right away. At this point, there’s no excuse for it, and they can’t just talk about it. It just needs to happen.
Protect Their Goaltender
High-danger chances through the first three games were relatively even. In Game Four, it wasn’t even close. Alexandar Georgiev was bombarded with chances from great scoring areas, and was really the only reason the game got to overtime. The Avalanche need to do a much better job of protecting their goaltender. That might come in the form of blocking more shots. Seattle hasn’t allowed the Avalanche to get a ton through to Grubauer, especially last game, and Colorado might have to follow suit. Getting outshot 2-1 is not sustainable if you want to win.
Game Five starts at 7:30 PM MST.