The Colorado Avalanche can take some lessons from a sloppy Game 2 into Game 3, which will let them take a commanding series lead.
The Colorado Avalanche played a sloppy game yesterday, and they won anyway. Luckily, their depth and talent — not to mention their goalie, Philipp Grubauer — kept them in the game long enough for Andre Burakovsky to make good on a prime opportunity handed to him.
The Arizona Coyotes deserved to win Game 2. They came out hungrier, and they put all their passion, skill, and talent behind that drive. They were the better team for most of the game. But, hey them’s the breaks in the playoffs — heaven knows the Avs have been victimized in the postseason, especially in recent years.
Well, memories need to be short right now because Colorado will be right back at it in a few hours. In the first back-to-back of the playoffs, the Avs will play visitor as they face off against the Coyotes again.
The Avalanche have a real chance to take a stranglehold on the series with today’s game. They’re already up 2-0. A 3-0 lead would be… daunting for the journeymen Coyotes.
Well, the Avs have already accomplished 2 Ws of Mission 16W. Let’s looks at some lessons they can learn from Game 2 to prevail in Game 3.
Put the Effort In
The Arizona Coyotes aren’t as deep or talented as the Colorado Avalanche. However, they’re still an NHL team, one that was sniffing around the playoffs seven-eighths of the way through the season when it got put on pause. One that defeated another NHL team, a perennial playoff favorite in recent years, to make these extraordinary playoffs.
In other words, forget Game 1. Arizona came out flat-footed for whatever reason. They showed in Game 2 that that’s not going to happen every day. Maybe not again.
So, the Avalanche need to put the actual effort forth to win games. They need to do all the cliche things — keep their feet moving, put pucks on net, win puck battles — to win Game 3 the old-fashioned way. Skating and pretty plays alone aren’t going to cut it.
Don’t Sleep on Tyson Jost
Unsurprising to all, myself (angrily) included, Tyson Jost was a healthy scratch in Game 1. A last-minute decision that saw Joonas Donskoi “unfit to play” (the new vernacular) saw Jost inserted into the Game 2 lineup.
Jost is one of the most polarizing players that’s ever skated in burgundy and blue. But even his detractors had to admit he played a great game against Arizona. No question he has real chemistry with his teammates, especially yesterday’s linemate JT Compher. But it was another buddy, Cale Makar, that set him up for a go-ahead goal:
That’s now four goals in postseason play for the youngster, a great feat considering how limited his ice time always is. Which, speaking of, it shouldn’t be. And which, speaking of, brings us to the next lesson….
Actually Play Those Who Earn Ice Time
More from Stanley Cup Playoffs
- Colorado Avalanche favourites to be Stanley Cup Champions in 2023-24
- Exclusive Colorado Bonus: Bet $1, Win $200 on Game 5 Tonight at Bet365!
- Limited-Time Offer: Bet $5, Win $200 at DraftKings for Stanley Cup!
- Bet365 NHL Bonus: Bet $1 on Any NHL Game, Win $200 if ONE Goal is Scored!
- Colorado Avalanche have real shot at first-round elimination
The current coach loves to spout the old cliche — players earn their ice time with how they play. Well, it’s time to put his money where his mouth is. Certain players, like the above-mentioned Jost, have earned ice time. Others have not.
One such is rental Vladislav Namestnikov. Can we admit yet that GM Joe Sakic picked Namestnikov up solely because the team was so injured at the trade deadline? Even if you count his round robin goal — and I don’t think we should — he still only has two in 37 playoff games. He’s a grinder for the regular season, and that’s over.
He left the game after a collision with Nathan MacKinnon. I hope he doesn’t have a concussion. But I hope he sits long enough for the above to be self-evident. And thank all the powers that be that he didn’t injure our MVP.
His erstwhile linemate, Valeri Nichushkin, hasn’t exactly looked like a wizard either. Another regular season grinder? In a team overfull with forwards, he’s going to have to put more production up.
Defenseman Samuel Girard looked good… at times. A youngster, he maybe just needs to find his playoff legs. The team isn’t as deep on defense, and his partner, Erik Johnson, has been stellar. So, it would be hard to see how his ice time would be diminished.
And you really shouldn’t do that to young guys. They’re more resilient than the veterans.
How to Enjoy the Game
Time: August 15,1:00 PM MDT
TV: NHLN, SN360, ALT, FS-A, FS-A PLUS
Radio: FM 92.5, AM 950