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Series Preview: Avs vs Yotes
By Richard Gonzalez
The Colorado Avalanche finished their round-robin round with their first loss against the Las Vegas Golden Knights and finished second in the Western Conference. The Avalanche have won two Stanley Cups in 23 seasons and are 65% in playoff success. The Avalanche will take on the Arizona Coyotes in the traditional 16 team playoff format. This is the second time these two teams will meet in the postseason.
The Avalanche took on “Phoenix” in the 2000 playoffs and won the series 4-1. The first game, the Avalanche won 6-3, and the second game they won 3-1. The third game they won 4-1, but the fourth game the Avalanche lost 3-2. They bounced back in game five with a 2-1 win to eliminate the Coyotes. They would make it all the way to the Western Conference Final before losing the series to the Dallas Stars, 4-3. The New Jersey Devils ultimately were crowned as the Stanley Cup Champions after winning the series against the Stars 4-2.
The Avalanche and Coyotes met twice in the regular season with each team getting a win. The first game was played on Oct. 12, 2019, in which the Avalanche won 3-2 in overtime. Andre Burakovsky had two points to include the game-winning overtime goal. Cale Makar had two helpers and Pavel Francouz won his first start with the team making 34 saves. The second game was played on Nov. 2, 2019, and the Coyotes would take this game 3-0. Francouz got the start again and made 25 saves. Darcy Kuemper got the nod and earned a shutout with his 33 save performance. Nazem Kadri and Lawson Crouse both went at it in this final game of the season series.
Yotes Stanley Cup Qualifiers:
The Coyotes beat the Nashville Predators 3-1 in their best-of-five game “play-in” series. Clayton Keller was one of four players to lead in points with his two goals and two assists. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Taylor Hall, and Phil Kessel each had a goal and three assists. Former Avalanche, Carl Soderberg had a goal in four games played. Goaltender, Darcy Kuemper started in all four games for the Coyotes and allowed 11 goals on 163 shots with a GAA of 2.77 and .933 save percentage. The Coyotes were 16.7% on the power play and 71.4% on the penalty kill. They scored 14 goals and allowed 11.
The Avalanche have one big question and that is who will start in the net? Philipp Grubauer and Francouz. I think it is pretty safe to confirm Michael Hutchinson will not get the nod in game one. Kadri and Mikko Rantanen co-lead the team in points with four. Kadri with a goal and three assists and Rantanen with four assists. The Avalanche were 25% on the power play and 80% on the penalty kill. The scored a total of nine goals and allowed five goals against.
The Coyotes should not be taken lightly, and the Avalanche stars need to start catching some fire to knock Kuemper off his high horse. Strike first, fast, get a lot of shots on net and limit the number of turnovers. They also need to figure out how to puck the puck in the net during the power play more. The Coyotes have a good amount of firepower and will be riding their momentum from their win against the Predators. Play the body and wear them down but do not get sucked into taking bad penalties. The Avalanche looked frustrated in their 3-0 loss last season and need to keep their composer if they get down. If all else fails, give the puck to Kadri with .1 second left. I predict the Avalanche will win this series 4-2.
The Avalanche (home) and Coyotes (away) will open up their series on today Aug. 12, 2020, at 3:30 (MT) at Rogers Place, Edmonton.
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August 12th, 2020