What were the keys to the Colorado Avalanche,s 3-0 victory against the Arizona Coyotes in game one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Patience was one of them.
Patience. It is the one word used by most of the players during their Pressers after the first game in the playoff series between the Colorado Avalanche and the Arizona Coyotes.
They stuck to their own game plan, no matter how frustrating they were getting. Interestingly watching the game, the team on the ice didn’t appear frustrated at all to me. I’m the one that was getting frustrated!
Each line played their shift doing what they knew they had to do. Follow the game plan.
And it certainly worked giving the Coyotes minimal offensive chances. With the Yotes having only 14 shots on goal for the entire game, less than Nazem Kadri had for the entire game, I’d say the Avalanche did a great job.
In comparison, the Avalanche had a total of 40 shots on goal. They continued their approach of sending pucks to the net, a strategy that works well and has proven game-winners during the regular season.
And it wasn’t just one line contributing either. It was so great to see all four lines out there taking chances, taking opportunities and trying for that elusive first goal.
It was Nazem Kadri, the star of the night, that broke the Arizona Coyotes goalies resolve. I said that Naz would likely be the play to make the difference in these Playoffs. He showed why last night.
Kuemper had looked solid. Annoyingly so. I was wondering how they Avs were going to get anything past him.
Rushing him and creating chaos at the front of the net, worked. At one stage during the game, we saw him move off to one side of the net and leave that wide opening on the other. It was as if his focus shifted and that could have meant he was getting tired.
On the other hand, Grubauer was down the opposite end trying not to fall asleep.
JT Compher scored the second goal only seconds later, which basically sealed the game right there. I’ve been impressed with his play on the third line. He doesn’t usually have me glad he’s on the ice, and at the moment that’s changed.
He is really contributing. And it’s great to see.
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Whilst everyone is saying that Grubauer played a stellar game, I disagree. He faced only 14 shots and I consider he made 2.5 great saves. That’s not really stellar performance.
Getting a shut out on a night when you get hammered with 50 shots on goal, is a stellar night.
Watching Mikko Rantanen find his game groove again has been great. It’s taken him a while, yet last night he was in their making key plays and taking that puck to the net. He looked like the Mikko of old to me.
Gabriel Landeskog played his heart out again last night. He was up there, in the play, taking hits, doing what the Cap does best, working with his team.
Erik Johnson was the other player that seemed to be everywhere and in everything. His defensive work was at it’s best. The Coach in his presser commented on that.
Oh, and what was funny was that Nathan MacKinnon was tagged and locked down by the Coyotes so much that he didn’t have one shot on goal until very late in the game.
What does that say about our whole teams resolve to make plays without our star performer?
Whilst Kadri’s stats show he was the standout performer of the game I’m back in the zone of saying no one put in a bad performance. I shut my eyes at one stage when Zadorov had the puck. And yet, he also had so drive and put pucks on net, so when that’s what the game plan was, he did it.
Overall it was a great TEAM effort. Sticking to the game plan, staying focused and calm, then striking when they could to force the goalie to give up his crease. It all worked. One win on the board.
Time to focus on doing it all again tomorrow. Go Avs!