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Avalanche Gameday: Pressure Is On In Must-Win Game Four




I really don’t love the term “must-win.” We use it way too much, especially during the regular season where a game at the start of the season matters just as much as one at the end. That being said, Game Four for the Colorado Avalanche means a whole heck of a lot.

And yes, I would say it’s a must-win game. The Avalanche accomplished their goal of stealing a game on the road to flip home-ice back in their favor. Dallas turned the tables on them in Game Three, and now can really take a stranglehold on Colorado.

You can’t go back to Dallas down 3-1 in the series. It just can’t happen. Nothing is impossible in the NHL, but coming back from a deficit like that against a really good Stars team would be extremely difficult.

The pressure is on the Avalanche to take care of business at Ball Arena on Monday night, but they aren’t exactly feeling it.

“There’s always pressure playing in the playoffs, home or road, it doesn’t matter, but I personally don’t look at it like that,” veteran Zach Parise said. “And I don’t feel like we’re thinking like that. I mean, of course you want to take advantage of being at your home rink and in front of your fans, but this is the best road team in the league. We know that they’re going to be stingy and tough. We got one in their building, they got one in ours, now it’s up to us. We got to get this one tonight.”

After reviewing Game Three, the Avalanche were pretty happy with their play. They held the puck most of the night and their zone-time was as strong as it has been in the series. The problem is the execution wasn’t really there. That’s why Game Three felt like a missed opportunity. A little crisper passing and execution and they might be leading in this series.

They’re looking to improve on that tonight. They have to.

“We got to find ways to, I think, manage the puck better,” Cale Makar said. “Obviously, we want to play with the puck, but at the same time, we got to play our game…for us I think it’s just getting back to how we work and how we want to play.”

Special teams has been a major issue the last two games for the Avalanche. Their powerplay has been held off the scoresheet, while Dallas has taken advantage of a few man advantages. The likely addition of Jonathan Drouin, who spent most of the year on the top unit, could make a big impact.

“Yeah, he’s very mobile. He’s kind of all over the place,” Makar said. “I feel like him and Nate [MacKinnon] find each other in a lot of different areas. So he’ll kind of give us that like, I don’t want to say like the inconsistency, but also consistency of kind of knowing where he’s just roaming around and stuff like that. So I feel like he’s a really good filler in there.”

Other News And Notes

  • Gabriel Landeskog had a camera man following his every move on Monday morning. Not quite sure what that’s about.
  • My gut says that Joel Kiviranta will be the one coming out, but I feel like he deserves to stay in. I’d take out Brandon Duhaime, but this is the competition Bednar wants.
  • No lineup changes for the Stars.
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Christopher Nearing

Kiviranta has been playing hard and with energy and passion, so hate to seem him benched.

If you could just bottle his energy and give a few sips to Miko…


Parise should be the one to sit. Easy choice and gives him an opportunity to rest at his age.

Jim Stick

Cogliano needs to sit

Jeffrey Anderson

Yeah, this is a must win. We’ll see if this team has the mental sharpness and huevos to do so. Otherwise, it’s golf season.

Bednar has some tough decisions to make on personnel.

Richard Trujillo

Wondering how the team can be motivated with the impending announcement regarding a certain big name player…

Joshua Canfield

I’m not a fan of “must win” either but this is the most important game the Avs will play in the 2023-24 season. If they lose and go down 3-1 in the series, their overall odds of winning the series go down by more than 25%.

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