Following a fairly successful round-robin series to obtain the second seed, the Colorado Avalanche will begin their quest for the franchise’s third Stanley Cup when they take on the Arizona Coyotes in the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This will be the first time that the two teams will face off against each other since the 2000 Stanley Cup Playoffs, where the Avs defeated the Coyotes in 5 games in the first round to advance to the next round. That season the Avalanche made it to the Western Conference Finals where they eventually fell in seven games to the Dallas Stars.
While the Avalanche are among some of the favorites to lift the Stanley Cup this season, they will have to focus on the task at hand against a tenacious Coyotes squad, who is fresh off an impressive performance by eliminating the Nashville Predators in four games. Coming into the playoffs as a favorite, the Avalanche are in a similar role that the Calgary Flames were in last year — when the Avalance eventually shocked the Flames in five games. Expect the Avs to not overlook the Coyotes.
Nathan MacKinnon (COL)
Finishing the regular season with a team-leading 93 points, MacKinnon will continue to be an important part for the Avalanche if they hope to claim the Stanley Cup. While MacKinnon has not found the back of the net yet following the round-robin games, we can expect him to take his game to the next level for the first round of the playoffs against the Coyotes. The clear goal for the Coyotes will be looking to shut down MacKinnon, but this year the Avalanche reap the benefits of four lines who can score — something that they did not have in last year’s playoffs.
Clayton Keller (ARI)
One of the Arizona Coyotes superstars that the Avalanche will want to keep in check is Clayton Keller. Although not having the same attributes as MacKinnon, Keller is more than capable of taking over a game. Leading the coyotes with 4 points through the play in series against the Nashville Predators, Keller is likely feeling optimistic about his play heading into the first round against the Avalanche.
Game 1: Wednesday, August 12th 3:30pm MDT
Game 2: Friday, August 14th 12pm MDT
Game 3: Saturday, August 15th, 1pm MDT
Game 4: Monday, August 17th, 3:30pm MDT
Game 5*: Wednesday, August 19th, TBD
Game 6*: Friday, August 21st, TBD
Game 7*: Sunday, August 23rd, TBD