Moments after the devastating overtime loss Wednesday, Nathan McKinnon He described the prospect of going to St. Louis for Game Six as a “huge challenge” but said he and his teammates are excited about it. The Avalanche They still have two chances to win and one win is needed to send them to the Western Conference Finals, the first of which comes on Friday.
None of this makes the team’s breakdown in Game 5 more understandable, but McKinnon thinks the avalanche can learn from it. And they will need to or else the loss may haunt them for a long time.
“That would make our team a little bit harder, and a little sadder in these situations,” McKinnon said.
There were plenty of troubling signs of avalanche in Game 5, which saw them lead 3-0 in the second half and take a 4-3 lead with less than a minute left. But there were also reasons to believe that Colorado could still beat blues.
Let’s review five of each.
Reason for concern: Darcy Combera play
Avalanche gave up a lot to take possession of Kuemper, sent a pickaxe from the first round and Conor Timmins To Arizona this summer in exchange for netminder. And while Kuemper was an avalanche bright spot in the regular season, he had his worst playoff game against St. Louis in Game 5, at least through hockey game evolution Saved goals are above the expected scale. It allowed 1.82 more targets than expected, per location, and made costly rebounds. In a game that decides in overtime, it will come back to bite you.
Avalanche coach Jared Bednar acknowledged Comber’s difficult night, but said he was far from the only meltdown player who performed poorly.
“You can put it together with our team,” the coach said. “We weren’t good enough, in the third period in particular.”
Kuemper has a negative GSAx in four of the five games in the series. This is a problematic trend and one that will need to be fixed if Colorado is to become a championship team. But that doesn’t shake Bednar’s belief that he’s the team’s best chance of winning, which makes sense given his success for the greater part of the season. Asked if he would consider going with a backup Pavel Francos In Game 6, Bednar simply responded.
Reason for optimism: Nathan McKinnon match
McKinnon did everything he could for Colorado to take a win on Wednesday. He had four points, a hat-trick, and arguably the best goal post in the entire season. The Blues had pinned the Colorado star with three assists in the series’ opening four games, but game five saw him find a groove. St. Louis had no answer. And although McKinnon was disappointed after Wednesday’s loss, he expected his confidence.
“We have to keep our game going and stay aggressive,” he said. “That’s what we’ll do on Friday.”
McKinnon reaches 82 playoff points in 59 games. He crossed the 80 point barrier in Game 5, and hook Sidney Crosby The fourth has the fewest number of games needed to reach the goal. Only Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Gary Corrie got 80 points faster.
Nathan McKinnon just did it. The goal to move forward to complete a hat-trick🥵 pic.twitter.com/tSP4VvmeYg
– Shayna (@hayyyshayy) 26 May 2022
Reason for concern: Robert Thomas go ahead
The 22-year-old Thomas had a solid season with St. Louis, scoring 77 points in 72 games. But he did not find his game early in these qualifiers, failing to score in the first 10 matches for the Blues and making only three assists.
That all changed in the third period of Match 5. Thomas scored two goals, including a tie with 56 seconds left. Vladimir Tarasenko log also. The avalanche had shut out both players previously, but if they were to go to the Blues, St. Louis would be much harder to beat.
Reason for optimism: improved penalty (at least four out of five)
Colorado advanced 3 for 3 on the penalty kick on Wednesday, a big improvement from Game 4, which saw the Blues score two goals in power in the second half. Bednar said the team made adjustments in the break that night, and those adjustments appear to have worked.
“Labour knew we had to be better,” he said. Darren Helm, who played nearly four minutes short hand Wednesday. “I watched a little more of the video and prepared a little differently. The guys are doing their best, sacrificing their bodies, and counting the shots. That’s what we need going forward.”
However, Colorado suffered when the Blues withdrew their goalkeeper, failing to remove the puck from the defense zone at five against six, which resulted in Thomas scoring the equaliser.
Reason for concern: Not being able to put toys aside
Colorado had a three-goal lead in game four but allowed the Blues to cut it to one in the third inning. Even in the first game, which Avalanche won in overtime, Colorado couldn’t finish a slew of scoring chances and beat the blues in the platform.
Then Wednesday’s crash happened. Whether it’s getting away from their game or the Blues making a push, Colorado’s inability to keep games away is why the streak continues.
Reason for optimism: the success of the road in these qualifications
Avalanche has been such a good team on the road in these playoffs, winning all four of their competitions outside of the Ball Arena. Coaches changing their last streak at home could also be less important than any other streak, considering Bednar and Blues coach Craig Beerup, for the most part, were playing in their top streaks against each other.
“It’s been in the past, but obviously we’ve had some success there,” McKinnon said of playing in St. Louis. “We definitely need a better effort for the full 60.”
Reason for concern: Samuel GerrardAbsence
Gerrard broke the sternum after taking Ivan Barbashev Hit in the third game. He’s outside the playoffs, and he has a descending effect on the entire squad. Jack Johnson Now he should have taken some 20 minutes for every game Gerrard was playing, and despite making his Avalanche debut after the start of the season in Game 4, he had a minus 1 rating in Game 5 and the avalanche generated just 38.16% of his projected goal share with him. On the ice at five and five, per Natural Statistics Trick. He’s also played five minutes short of the closest man in defense, which doesn’t show Bednar’s confidence.
Bowen ByramIn the meantime, he looked fine with more responsibility. The avalanche achieved nearly 80 percent of the projected goals while on the ice.
Reason for optimism: Good after loss
Colorado is keen not to lose two games in a row. For the most part this season, the team has managed to avoid him.
After a three-game losing streak early in the season in October, Colorado has lost more than one game in a row just five times this season. Two of those occasions came in the last month, when the avalanche was resting players in preparation for the post-season. Aside from Gerrard, Colorado wears a healthy slate, and a team with this talent level shouldn’t lose three times in a row.
Reason for concern: Experience
The Blues know how to win. A large portion of their roster won the Stanley Cup in 2019, but even some of the other additions have championship pedigree. Acquisition of deadline Nick Lady win the cup ChicagoAnd so did I Brandon Saad. So when their backs were on the wall in Game 5, they didn’t hold back. This will make it difficult to eliminate them.
Reason for optimism: Colorado was the better team
This statement applies to both the regular season and the playoffs. Avalanche finished with 10 more regular season points in the standings, and they’ve outperformed St. Louis for the greater part of that series. The avalanche leads 3-2, after all.
Check out these numbers five to five, all via Natural Stat Trick:
- Colorado has a 57.74 percent share of the projected target
- Colorado had 61.84 percent of the scoring chances
- Colorado had 59.74 percent of high-risk scoring chances
Essentially, if Avalanche played the way they played their first five games, they would be able to shut down St. Louis. If their game falters, this is where things can get suspicious, as shown in Game Breakdown 5.
(Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)