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Sport Avalanche vs. Golden Knights: 5 things to know about their Second Round series
NHL playoffs: Bryan Rust's late penalty almost cost Penguins; Golden Knights finally score
Bryan Rust opened the Pittsburgh Penguins' scoring against the New York Islanders, then his teammates killed off his penalty in the final minutes.He scored the opening goal in the first period after a New York turnover, took four shots, drew a penalty, delivered two hits and played more than 19 minutes.
The Second Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs began on Saturday. Today, we preview the matchup between the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights.
AVALANCHE VS. GOLDEN KNIGHTS –
Game 1: Sun. May 30: Golden Knights at Avalanche, 8 p.m. ET (NBC)
Game 2: Wed. June 2: Golden Knights at Avalanche, 10 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
Game 3: Fri. June 4: Avalanche at Golden Knights, 10 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
Game 4: Sun. June 6: Avalanche at Golden Knights, 8:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
*Game 5: Tues. June 8: Golden Knights at Avalanche TBD
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The Vegas Golden Knights stormed back with five consecutive goals and limited the Minnesota Wild to just 16 shots on goal in their 5-2 Game 3 win on Thursday night.All of that was on display during the final two periods of their 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild in Game 3 of their First Round Series on Thursday night.
*Game 6: Thurs. June 10: Avalanche at Golden Knights TBD
*Game 7: Sat. June 12: Golden Knights at Avalanche TBD
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1. The two best teams in the league
Everybody was hoping for this matchup in the Western Conference Final a year ago, but the Stars ruined those plans when they beat Colorado in the Second round.
Less than a year later we get this dream matchup, and it is hard to argue against these two being the two best teams in the league this season.
Vegas finished tied for the most points in the league (82), with Colorado winning the Presidents’ Trophy by tiebreaker.
They were first and second in the league in goal differential (Vegas in first at plus-67; Colorado in second at plus-64) and were in the top-three in both goals for and goals against. Add in dominant underlying numbers and shot metrics, as well as deep rosters with no weaknesses and it is as good of a matchup as you could see this postseason. The winner of this series will almost certainly be the top Stanley Cup contender and favorite.
Wild put up valiant Game 7 fight, but Golden Knights advance
Janmark generated a hat trick, and the Golden Knights finally advanced to face the Avalanche.Key Golden Knights mattered in Vegas’ 6-2 Game 7 win, but Mattias Janmark also enjoyed a big night vs. the Wild. He ended up with a hat trick. Let’s go over the twists, turns, pretty goals, and nasty hits of Game 7.
2. Colorado’s defense is what separates it from everybody else
When you think of the Avalanche you almost certainly think ofand that top line that also features and .
They are phenomenal, dominant, young, and a big part of what separates the Avalanche from every other team in the league.
should be a Norris Trophy finalist this season, is not far behind him, and has been a steal of an acquisition from the New York Islanders this past offseason. That trio, along with players like , , , and a healthy gives the Avalanche a defense that should be the envy of the rest of the league. Not only because of their ability, but also because of the ages of most of those players.
During the regular season the Avalanche finished third in the league in goals against, and were the absolute best team at suppressing shot attempts, shots on goal, scoring chances, high-danger scoring chances, and expected goals against (via Natural Stat Trick).
Golden Knights’ Ryan Reaves ejected for attempt to injure as Game 1 unravels
The Vegas Golden Knights could be without forward Ryan Reaves for Game 2 and beyond for his actions on Sunday night.It resulted in Ryan Reaves getting a match penalty for intent to injure, and ignited a line brawl that gave Colorado a whopping nine-minute power play to close out the game.
They can outscore anybody. They are also equally dominant on the other end of the rink.
3. Colorado has the star power advantage at forward, but will it getback sooner that expected?
While these are the two best teams in the league, one of them does have a slightly more impressive roster on paper. That team is Colorado.
With MacKinnon, Rantanen, Landeskog, and Makar the Avalanche have four game-changers in their lineup. Players that can take over a game and a series if they get hot and go on a roll.
The big question here is whether or not this group will be at full strength during the series as they await for the appeal decision on Nazem Kadri’s suspension. Hefor an illegal check to the head of Blues defenseman in the First Round. He has already served two games and, , will not be available until a potential Game 7 of the series.
For as good as Vegas is, they do not really have that sort of talent.can be that play in goal, and and are both outstanding players, but they do not have a MacKinnon, or a bonafide top-line center, or player as quite as impactful as Makar on defense. It is also a team that has struggled to score goals come playoff time, and especially when they have an opportunity to close out a series. That has not hurt them against teams like Vancouver or Minnesota the past two years. It might become a problem against a team like Colorado that is capable of lighting the scoreboard in any game.
Golden Knights shake off blowout, but Avalanche win Game 2 in OT
Damon Jones - a former teammate and coach of the Lakers superstar - joined the Posted Up w./ Chris Haynes podcast to discuss what fans can expect with the first-round series against the Suns on the line Thursday night. Hear the full conversation on the Posted Up with Chris Haynes podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.
4. Vegas has the goaltending advantage
But one thing that Vegas does have is a a goaltending edge.
has been outstanding this season, but goaltending is probably the one position you could look at on this roster with even a little bit of concern. Especially given the lack of depth behind Grubauer. If he struggles or gets injured the Avalanche do not have any great options behind him. They tried to address that at the trade deadline with , but he is not the player he was just a few years ago. The Golden Knights, meanwhile, have two high level starting goalies on their roster in Fleury and .
Fleury has been a great redemption story this year after it looked like his time with the Golden Knights was running out. He lost his starting job in the playoffs a year ago, while the Vegas re-signed Robin Lehner to a huge long-term contract presumably with the intent of leaning on him. But an injury to Lehner early in the season opened the door for Fleury to step back in, and he took advantage of the opportunity.
There is a good chance he will be a Vezina Trophy finalist for the first time in his career this season, and he has been outstanding in the playoffs. They also still have Lehner lurking as a backup if they need him. It is a great position for a team to be in come playoff time given how much this position can swing a season or a playoff series.
In stifling MacKinnon and Avs, DeBoer adds to impressive playoff resume
Avalanche - Golden Knights coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app.When it comes to gauging a coach in just about any sport, there’s some subjectivity. There’s also incomplete information. A seemingly foolish decision might have some hidden meaning. Maybe some real-life Ted Lasso aims to impart some soul-searching lessons. Perhaps a coach is simply lucky or doomed.
5. Prediction: Avalanche in 7 games
This is not going to be a short series. The two teams split the regular season meetings and both have the ability to win it all. This is about as evenly matched as a series can get, and this would have made an amazing semifinals matchup in a normal playoff year. The Golden Knights have the goaltending, the Avalanche have the star power, both teams are loaded from top-to-bottom. Having said that, the Avalanche just seem to be playing at an entirely different level than everybody else this season and especially so far in the playoffs. They take a close, hard fought series in seven games.
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NHL Betting Lines: Will the Colorado Avalanche survive for a Game 7 against the Vegas Golden Knights? .
A pivotal Game 6 is on tap tonight, as the once-Stanley-Cup favorite Colorado Avalanche try to survive against the Vegas Golden Knights. Back when the Colorado Avalanche were polishing off the St. Louis Blues and hammering the Vegas Golden Knights, 7-1, in Game 1 of this series, I wrote that the Avs were skating straight towards the Stanley Cup Final. Three straight losses later, and Colorado is now fighting for its playoff life. Shockingly, the once-favored Avalanche have seen their Stanley Cup odds plummet to +425, good for third behind the reigning champion Tampa Bay Lightning (+175) and Colorado's opponent in this series, the aforementioned Golden Knights (+200).