Coming into the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Dallas Stars, there was much praise for the secondary scoring of the Colorado Avalanche. Through three games, instead of the secondary scoring getting the headlines for Colorado, its Nathan MacKinnon. While MacKinnon, is one of the best players remaining in the playoffs, he can’t do it alone. He needs more help, especially from the middle six forwards.
Nathan MacKinnon Needs More Help in Colorado
It is no secret that Nathan MacKinnon is the best player in the series between the Stars and Avalanche. The Stars should even know that. Controlling MacKinnon can be quiet the task; through three games, MacKinnon has seven points (three goals and four assists). He was the driving force for why Colorado kept it close in Game 1 and had a 2-0 lead in Game 2. However, you need more than one player to win in hockey. This is not basketball, where one player can dominate a game.
MacKinnon has got help from his line-mates Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. The line has combined for 16 points through three games with Rantanen producing five points and Landeskog four. That is great for MacKinnon since he plays with both, but the Stars figured out pretty quickly, if they can shut down this line, they can win.
Colorado is running into the same problems they did during the last few seasons. When the top line runs dry, so does the rest of the scoring. Even when the top line produces as they did in the first two games, they can’t do all the work. Eventually, the opposition will figure them out and the Avalanche needed that secondary scoring that was so vital to their First Round success.
Depth Scoring Crucial For Colorado
Entering the series, depth scoring was crucial for Colorado to have success. Especially if the top lines from the Stars and Avalanche were going to cancel each other out. In the NHL, it takes more than one line or player to win. It takes a team and Colorado put together a team that was built for the players.
So the Avs acquired Nazem Kadri, who outside of MacKinnon was the best player for Colorado in Round 1, and signed Joonas Donskoi, Andre Burakovsky, J.T. Compher, and others to add the secondary scoring desperately needed to win. Those players stepped up big time in the First Round. Those players have combined for three points against Dallas, all coming in the Avalanche’s Game 3 victory. That is not gonna cut it.
Not to mention players like Valeri Nichushkin and Vladislav Namestnikov, who played well during the regular season have been non-existent in the post-season. Both players have combined for zero points this round. This is when you need players like these to figure it out.
Moving Forward In The Series
Game 4 is crucial for the Avalanche if they want to have success in the playoffs. The defence has to step up and slow down the Dallas offence. That’s easier said than done especially when the Avalanche have key injuries to Philipp Grubauer and Matt Calvert. Erik Johnson is not 100 percent too. But now that Pavel Francouz has started two full games, he is gaining more and more confidence.
The big key for the Avalanche is to get the secondary scoring going. Nathan MacKinnon and that top line can only carry this team so far. It is great he is putting up massive numbers, but if he were to carry Colorado all the way to the Stanley Cup, he might need to break Wayne Gretzky’s playoff mark for points. That is a tough ask, but MacKinnon is on pace to do so.
Outside MacKinnon, the secondary scoring for Colorado must produce. Just look at the teams that win it all — they have all four lines producing, or at the least three. That is what Colorado needs most. The individual stats are great, but if the team does not win, nobody remembers them.