The team won three rounds of the postseason competition.They are heading to the Stanley Cup Final.
As you can see, the Avs' stars have delivered.Both are making strong arguments for Conn Smythe. But they have also had great production from depth players, including an award-winning goal from In game 4 against the . The Avalanche won their second series sweep in the postseason and it took them only 14 games to defeat three of their opponents.
What is it that makes the Avs so fascinating to watch and so difficult to beat? Let's examine the key factors that Colorado is now closer to winning the Cup.
Yes, Colorado is That Good
Let's begin with the facts. With Edmonton eliminated, the Avalanche became the sixth team to win a conference final series. This puts Colorado in elite company, but it does not mean that they are on the fast track for a Stanley Cup victory. Only two of these five teams — the 20092010 — was able to lift the Cup. The 2003 Ducks, and the 2019 Ducks They lost Game 7 of the Cup Final. The 2013 Bruins lost Game 6.
The Colorado team is an individual animal. We've seen it all. The Avalanche won their first round series against theWithout starting goaltender It is available for nearly half of it. They also did it in the conference final sweep of the Oilers, which they relied on as seamlessly as possible. As they would Kuemper. It is important to know that goaltending can make or ruin a playoff run. Colorado did well, no matter if Francouz and Kuemper were dominant or not.
Offensively, it was the same story. It was the same story offensively. When the Avalanche’s top line wasn’t firing, its second- and third units scored timely goals. Or Colorado received a crucial contribution from an unlikely hero (for instance,With 5.6 seconds remaining in regulation of Game 6, against St. Louis,'s goal was enough to send Colorado to the conference finals. It's not luck. This team is built to win.
Yes, the Avalanche has star-quality players. They aren't the only reason Colorado is what it is. That's why the Avalanche is so deadly, with the many levels of excellence that make them so difficult to describe and defend. Take a look at the physical effort that went intoAlready injured in the first series, he was able to play Game 4 early to help Colorado get the ball out of its hands. Colorado is so determined to accomplish its goal.
AsSo eloquently stated it after Colorado's 4-2 victory over the Oilers. The Avalanche are equally happy to play “boring, gross” hockey that's defensive-heavy as much as they are pumping in eight goals.
The Avalanche adapts to all situations
Colorado's ability to pivot is one of the best things about Colorado. One area can fail, and another one will succeed.
Look at Colorado's power-play woes early in the series against Edmonton. While the Avalanche had the NHL's seventh best power play (24%) in the regular season, Colorado went 2-for-14 (14.3%) in the power play through the first three games. This was the lowest power play output of any team in the postseason. It doesn't matter. No matter. The Avalanche won at 5-on-5, and that was their real advantage. They scored 14 even strength goals and averaged over five goals per series. The Avalanche's power play really came to life in Game 4. They scored on both of these opportunities.
It's yet another example of how Avalanche don't let any roadblock stop them from moving forward. Colorado can solve any problem. They don't get too involved in thinking about the details or playing too much. It is a testament to Jared Bednar's trust in his team and the confidence that his players have in him that the Avalanche never seem panicked, no matter how bad or good the game. Cool heads prevail every time.
Leaning into a long layoff
TheThere was more than one week between their second round sweep of the tournament. The Eastern Conference finals against the .
There was also rust. The Lightning lost Game 1 6-2. They lost Game 2 3-2. They came in fresh off their Game 7 victory over the Rangers.They had all the momentum at their disposal. Tampa Bay's fate will be decided by these early losses.
Colorado needs to know if the Avs are headed for similarly turbulent waters.
Colorado could have several days of practice before playing another competitive match. Although it is not ideal, the Avalanche have already experienced this postseason.
In Game 4, Colorado eliminated Nashville on May 9. It did not open the second round series against St. Louis until eight days after that, but it won Game 1 3-2 in overtime. Although the Avalanche may have been feeling the effects from a layoff for some time, Colorado is resilient to adversity.
There are also positive aspects to waiting. There is a chance for players to heal and recover. The closer Tampa and New York get, the more likely they are to be able to recover.A broken thumb could lead to a possible appearance in the Cup Final. At this stage, the Avalanche do not need to practice or exercise hard. They have already proven their worth. The most difficult challenge will be mentally, and staying focused ahead of what will be the most nerve-wracking and career-defining moment of a large portion of the Colorado roster.
Who should play? Or not to play
Both players and coaches will not admit that they favor one opponent over the other. But we can make it work for them.
Colorado beat Tampa Bay and New York 2-0 in their regular season. The Lightning won one shootout.
You can argue for the Lightning being avoided simply because they are so resilient in the playoffs. They would overcome a deficit of 2-0 to begin the Eastern Conference finals. This narrative, along with the psychological power they have in attempting a triple-peat, would be compelling.
But the Rangers are also resilient. The Rangers have been able to close out the Hurricanes series after they lost the first two rounds. This has given them a lot of confidence. The Blueshirts were relentless in pushing the Lightning around during the conference finals and have not lost an inch of ground.
Colorado will be facing a formidable opponent in the series' winner. There's also a New York goaltender of international calibre waiting to take the puck.Tampa Bay's .
The Avalanche excel in all categories, as we have already stated. Colorado is a good match for any team, as the Avalanche can adapt to different aspects of their game.
It could come down to not allowing Tampa Bay's mystique to get in the way of Colorado supporting the Rangers. New York has a strong depth, its goaltending talent is outstanding, and it is physically strong. Avs.-Rangers would make a great series. We would also have a new Cup champion after the Lightning's two-year reign.
Kadri has to make a tough break
Kadri will benefit from Colorado's longer time before the next round starts. He injured his thumb.Kadri boarded him in Game 3, against Edmonton. He will be motivated for the Cup Final of his professional career.
Colorado will also be hopeful for Kadri's recovery. The forward scored 14 points and six goals in the playoffs so far and was truly shining while playing withFor the Oilers. Andre Burakovsky, who was unable to replace Kadri, has been promoted to a second-line position for the Avalanche. Kadri's absence in Colorado could make a difference if there is a healthy Tampa Bay or New York team.
Kadri is more than a competent, consistent scorer. Kadri is also a good faceoff player (50.5% in postseason), and has been rewarded with big power play minutes (3:11 per match). He has a way to get under people's skin. This time of year, intangibles are often at the forefront. Kadri's help can be particularly helpful for Colorado.
Jared Bednar, the Avalanche's coach, hasn't been open about any player's postseason health. So it's unlikely that he'll provide updates on Kadri anytime in the near future. We know that Colorado is more comfortable with Kadri than it is without him.