Colorado Avalanche on the Eve of Round 2

Coming off a week of rest, the Colorado Avalanche are ready to take on their second-round foe, the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Colorado Avalanche must be a well-rested  bunch. They swept the St. Louis Blues, so they’ve been off since last Saturday — a week.

Their opponent is in the opposite boat. The series between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Minnesota Wild went to seven. Their last game was Friday.

You can look at those situations in a couple of ways. General wisdom holds that teams can keep up momentum if there’s little break between rounds. Conversely, a team can go flat if they’re out too long.

The Avs players aren’t looking at the situation that way. As Nathan “We’re the favorites or whatever” MacKinnon points out, Colorado had a tight schedule leading up to the playoffs themselves. And while the Blues series was short, it was a physical one. So, they welcome the days off to rest their bodies.

Likewise, they’ve been practicing and working on fine-tuning their game. One area they may wish to attend to is the power play. I’m just being nit-picky here. But Vegas is a tough team, one that were the favorites to win the conference and the President’s Trophy until Colorado swooped in and won last minute. Therefore, the Avalanche will need any advantage they can get — including the man-advantage if it comes to that.

Who are going to be the heroes for the Avalanche? Well, you expect the usual suspects of the top line and Cale Makar. Unfortunately, against a nasty team like Vegas is when Colorado could use the grit of Nazem Kadri. He’s serving his suspension, though he’s in the process of appealing it.

Defenseman Devon Toews did well against the Knights this season. Maybe J.T. Compher will find his mojo again.

Naturally, the person who has to come up biggest for the team to advance is the goalie. Philipp Grubauer has been everything we were ever hoping for. Here’s to hoping he can take it up even another level because his counterpart, Marc-Andre Fleury, is no joke. I don’t want to give the man too much respect since he’s the enemy right now, but he’s a tough competitor.

One player to whom I will give no respect is Ryan Reaves of the Knights. As much as people like to complain about Tom Wilson, at least that worthy has skill. Reaves is just a thug, and I wouldn’t put it past him to take runs at our talent.

Some fans reckon Colorado can sweep the Knights like they did the Blues. I don’t believe so. I think the Knights are going to be the toughest competition the Avs will face in these playoffs. I think they’re going to need to be sharp and to keep speed in the game to beat the Knights. I think it’ll go six games.

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The Colorado Avalanche will have home ice advantage throughout the playoffs thanks to their President’s Trophy. The action is tomorrow night at Ball Arena. The puck drops at 6 pm MDT.