Well, it’s come down to the best of the West Division in Round 2 of the 2021 NHL playoffs. As expected, the two best teams in the west will be facing each other with the Vegas Golden Knights vs Colorado Avalanche series set to start on Sunday May 30th at 8pm ET. Vegas got there by getting by the pesky Minnesota Wild in a seven-game series while the Golden Knights finally finished off a playoff series with a win at home. The Vegas club let the Wild get back into the series after taking a commanding 3-1 lead. If they continue that flaw, they may find themselves on the golf course a bit early against the opportunistic Avalanche team.
For the Colorado Avalanche, they coasted to an easy four-game sweep of the St. Louis Blues in Round 1. They are rested, ready, and powerful. Just try stopping their top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog. And, that’s just for starters. Colorado has beyond an excellent and youthful blueline. With Philipp Grubauer back in the saddle again in between the pipes, the Golden Knights have their work cut out for them.
Colorado Avalanche Looking For Their Next Victim in Second Round
The key to any playoff series is momentum. Of the two teams playing in this second round West Division, which team is playing out of their minds? That would be the Colorado Avalanche, all you hockey nuts. Sure, Vegas can be very formidable at times, but the Avalanche seem to have quite the advantage going into this second-round series. Do the Vegas Golden Knights have speed? Yes, so do the Avalanche. Does Vegas have excellent goaltending? Yes, and the Avalanche also have that attribute.
Vegas has a strong defence which ranked first during the regular season by just allowing 2.18 goals a game. The Avs were third allowing 2.36. In the postseason, the Vegas club is third in goals allowed with a 1.86 goals-against-average. The Avalanche are second with a 1.75 average but have just played four games thus far.
The Avalanche can expect some more intense competition than what they experienced in their first-round action against the Blues. The Vegas team was not able to rest after their first-round victory and must get right back at it on Sunday to start the second round of playoff action. The Avs haven’t played for a week and any nagging injuries should be healed by now. Sometimes when a team is off that long they can get stale and lazy. It is doubtful that will be the case for this Avalanche team. They are focused, talented, and ready to go.
Each Team Has Their Offensive Leader in Vegas Golden Knights vs Colorado Avalanche Series
The top line for the Avs scored 183 points during the regular campaign. That amounts to just over 33 percent of the total team scoring. If (and that’s a keyword) the Golden Knights expect to get past the Avalanche, they need to determine how to slow down their opposition’s top scoring line. The Vegas club can score too. Mark Stone led them with 61 points including 21 goals over the season this year. Add in Max Pacioretty and Jonathan Marchessault and you have some excellent offensive stars who have helped the Golden Knights equal the Avalanche in points during the regular season.
The Vegas Golden Knights have a strong defence, mainly because of their exceptional goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury. The Avs also possess strong goaltending, so this will be a battle to the end. The Colorado team has such a talented, young group of defencemen. Cale Makar, Samuel Girard, and Conor Timmins are all just 22 years of age. What a future! Makar was the 2019-20 Calder winner and deservedly so. He plays like a 10-year veteran and is awesome on the power play. The nod here must go to the Av’s defensive group. Vegas can compete but the Avs can dominate.
This may be a more defensive series than many may think. With two outstanding goalies, not many goals are going to be scored. Fleury has been tough in the playoffs, no doubt about it. Yet, now that Grubauer is back, the Avalanche seem just as talented at stopping the Vegas attack. This series could go seven games, no four and out here. Evaluating the two teams, it seems that the Colorado Avalanche will come out victorious in seven games… maybe six at that. Momentum seems to be on Av’s side. They need to go with it and grab the series from the Vegas team.
Now, it’s time to see just how dominating the Avalanche can be. Vegas may never know what hit them.