Following a disappointing 5–2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Monday, the Colorado Avalanche will look to avoid falling into the dreaded 0–3 hole when they take on the Stars in Game Three Wednesday night.
So far in comparison to the first round against the Arizona Coyotes, it appears as if the Avs’ depth that they brought in during the offseason has completely been drained—as Colorado is simply just being carried by the superhuman efforts of Nathan MacKinnon.
Leading the playoffs with 18 points (Seven goals, 11 assists), MacKinnon has stepped his game up to a whole new level for the second round of the playoffs.
After getting off to a 2–0 lead in the first period with goals from MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen in Game Two, the Avalanche ran into a series of unfortunate events to help the Stars score five unanswered goals to escape with the 5–2 comeback victory. Despite falling down two games in the series, the Avalanche are confident in their group.
“For us, it’s a seven-game series for a reason,” Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said after Game Two. “We feel more than anything we’re in this thing, and we’ve been up 2–0 before and we know how quick it can turn and all of a sudden—tie series. It’s a seven-game series for a reason, and there’s no quit in this group.”
According to Colorado head coach Jared Bednar, Matt Calvert remains day-to-day and his status for Game Three is yet to be determined, though Calvert could be a game-time decision.
Alongside MacKinnon’s 10-game point streak in the playoffs, Rantanen is on a five-game point stream (three goals, five assists), while Landeskog is on a four-game point streak with one goal and six assists.
I expect the Avalanche to come out hard as they did in Game Two and play more than 20 minutes of hockey for Game Three against the Stars. They know going down a 0–3 series deficit against a talented Stars squad would be extremely difficult to come back from, and I expect Colorado’s depth players to step up to the plate and help out the top line.
Players to watch
Riding his own point streak, it seems as if Rantanen is finally beginning to find his legs, tallying a goal of his own in Game Two for the Avalanche. With the Avs against the wall, I can see Rantanen taking the next step to help the Avs have a better chance of coming away with the victory. Whether it will be five-on-three or on the power play, I expect Rantanen and the rest of the top line to be at their best tonight in Game Three.
Known for being an Avs killer, the longtime Shark has proven to be a little bit of a pest for the Stars in this second-round series against the Avalanche. On this talented Stars roster, Pavelski is a lightning rod of energy for this squad. If the Stars continue to have their way, expect him to have something to do with it.
Win or lose, Game Three will be a contest that you will not want to miss. Will we see a return of the Avs’ depth players, or will Colorado’s misfortunes continue? Only time will tell. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. MDT.