NHL Playoffs Round 2, Game 2 – Avalanche Lead Series 1-0
Vegas Golden Knights (40-14-2) vs. Colorado Avalanche (39-13-4)
Date: Wednesday June 2nd
Time: 10:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Ball arena
TV coverage: CBC, NBCS
Money line: Golden Knights +172 | Avalanche -205
Spread: Golden Knights +1.5 (-160) | Avalanche -1.5 (+132)
Total: 5.5 About (-114) | Below (-106)
Odds of winning series: Golden Knights +330 | Avalanche -460
Odds of winning the Stanley Cup: Golden Knights +1100 | Avalanche +150
After Colorado finished the regular season with 82 points apiece, they split from their rivals in the West Division in a flash, at least for one night. Anyone who predicted the absolute destruction of the Golden Knights by the avalanche on Sunday would be better off playing the lottery or avoiding going out during a thunderstorm. Colorado’s top line came out at 300 million volts, putting the Avs in a quick 2-0 lead halfway through.
Mikko Rantanen opened the goal after less than five minutes, followed by captain Gabriel Landeskog shortly after half-time of the frame. The playoff scorer leader and the third striker on the juggernaut of a line, Nathan MacKinnon, got in the second game to 4-0. Landeskog scored his second goal 10 minutes later with assists from MacKinnon and Rantanen and before the Knights could say “Marc-Andre” they were 5-0 down. Colorado’s big three combined for five goals, three assists, plus / minus eight and 14 of 37 avalanche shots on goal as the mountain smoke cleared.
Robin Lehner allowed all seven goals in a somewhat surprising start. Vezina finalist Marc-Andre Fleury was rested in Game 1 after starting all seven games in Vegas’ grueling first-round streak with Wild. It would be an absolute shock not to see the five-time All-Star and three-time Stanley Cup champion back in the circle on Wednesday.
Speaking of potential award-winning goalkeepers: Philipp Grubauer’s game was somewhat overshadowed by the high-octane front row. The Avs netminder was also named a Vezina finalist on Tuesday, just two days after stopping 24 of 25 Knights shots in Game 1. Grubauer finished second in the regular season with a GAA of 1.95 and made it to the playoffs. The former capital is level with an average of 1.60 goals conceded in Game 2 for the best postseason brand.
Vegas, the team with the third highest scoring in the regular season, are struggling with the offensive in these playoffs. The Knights have only scored three goals in their four losses this postseason and have been excluded twice. Team leading goalscorer Max Pacioretty missed the first six games of the playoffs and the Knights could use some of his offensive touch. Patches had 24 markers in 48 games this season and scored the eventual winner in his return in Game 7 in the first round.
Don’t forget that the Knights have admitted the fewest goals in the league this season and their only game high against six goals was just one time. They also knocked out the Avs twice this season, so don’t expect another touchdown in Colorado in Game 2.
Vegas should be ready to bounce back with Fleury back between the pipes and a better schedule for Colorado’s phenomenal top line. The over was the game in seven straight post-season games when Vegas is an underdog while the Avs went high in four consecutive games. Vegas is 9-0 in the last nine after losing three or more goals and has won six in a row after losing five goals or worse.
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