Colorado Avalanche Fan’s Playoff Preview: April 18


Wow, these playoffs are exciting stuff, eh, Avs Nation? Sure, the Colorado Avalanche aren’t in the playoffs this year, but they have been before. And they will be again.

For now, let’s look at some of the action around the NHL and see what some teams are doing with the playoff chance — and what some teams are not.

Minnesota Wild at St. Louis Blues, last game 4-2 for Minnesota

99. 1. 98. Final. 0

Ok, let’s get this big goose egg out of the way early. How did the St. Louis Blues come out so flat at home and let the Minnesota Wild run rough-shot over them? The Blues fans were booing halfway through the second period, and I can’t blame them.

That said, there’s no way the Blues are going to be that apathetic again. They’re a physical team, and they finally started showing that at the end of the game. Hopefully that carries over into Game 2.

Key to the Game: If the St. Louis Blues come out playing their actual game, and keep the physicality up, they’re certain to whup the Wild. That said, for some inexplicable reason, it sounds as if goalie Jake Allen is getting the nod again as the starter.

Prediction: St. Louis steps up, beats the Wild 2-0.

Detroit Red Wings at Tampa Bay Lightning, last game 3-2 Detroit

0. 23. 1. 72. Final

The Tampa Bay Lightning were swept last post-season by the Montreal Canadiens. Surely they will do everything on God’s green earth to avoid that fate again this season, especially since they have home ice advantage.

That said, not one but two Red Wings players earned NHL stars of the night for their play.  Detroit forward Pavel Datsyuk earned two goals, and goalie Petr Mrazek practically stood on his head to make 44 of 46 saves.

Key to the game: Can the firepower on the Lightning find a way to solve Mrazek? Throwing everything plus the kitchen sink isn’t working — they’ll have to go sniper on him.

Prediciton: I think the Bolts sill squeak a win out at home, 2-1.

Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers, last game 2-1 for the Rangers

Final. 1. 95. 0. 92

The winner of the McDavid Sweepstakes, er, NHL Draft Lottery get announced right before this game. Let’s face it, at least half of the hockey fandom will be abuzz about that.

That said, the Rangers and Penguins will be going about their business. Personally, I acknowledge that the Pens have talent. However, I don’t think they have enough fire in their belly. I think goalie Marc Andre Fleury will continue to get the job done, but there just won’t be enough offense against Henrik Lundqvist.

Key to the Game: This is a goalie battle if ever there was one. Both are super talented and will keep their team in the game. It’s just a matter of which skaters will score more than the others.

Prediction: It’s bound to be a tight game, but I think the Rangers are going to squeak out another win, 1-0.

Winnipeg Jets at Anaheim Ducks, last game 4-2 for the Ducks

105. 0. 107. Final. 1

Give credit to the Winnipeg Jets — they came out strong against the higher-seeded team, the Anahiem Ducks. Also give credit to Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec — he kept the team in the game.

That said, the Ducks are on a single-minded mission. I fully acknowledge winger Corey Perry’s talent, and even I can’t believe his four-point night against the Jets.

Key to the Game: Can the Jets match the Ducks on offense? They really can’t.

Prediction:Ducks take Game 2, 3-1.

What do you think, Avs Nation? What are your picks for the fourth night of NHL playoffs?

Next: Avs Fan Guide to Cheering St. Louis Blues

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