No. 2 Golden Knights at No. 1 Avalanche
9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS
Best-of-7 series tied, 2-2
The Vegas Golden Knights will try to carry their momentum into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Second Round on Tuesday, and the Colorado Avalanche will try to continue their dominance at home.
The Golden Knights have won two straight games and are outshooting the Avalanche 110-52 since the first period of Game 2.
“Regardless of what’s happened the last two games, it’s hard to beat anybody three games in a row, never mind the Colorado Avalanche, so we know the task that’s in front of us,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. “We know their home record and how good they’ve been at the same time. I think we have confidence in our game that it’ll translate to the road and that’s our plan.”
The Avalanche have won 13 straight home games and are 20-0-1 in their past 21 at Ball Arena dating to the regular season, when they tied the Pittsburgh Penguins for the most wins (22) and points (46) on home ice.
“The guys are very excited,” Avalanche forward Tyson Jost said. “We know what’s at stake here. It’s do or die and now we’re back in front of our home fans, so that’s exciting. The guys are really energized and ready to come out flying tonight.”
Here are 3 Keys for Game 5:
1. Keep the pressure on
The Golden Knights have slowed the Avalanche and avoided their power play for the most part by pressuring the puck all over the ice and making them defend as much as possible.
Vegas has had 61.2 percent of the 5-on-5 shot attempts over the past three games.
“If you’re going to attack in waves, the line on the ice always sets up the next shift and the success of the line following them,” DeBoer said. “When you can get in that four-line rotation of pressure, where the line on the ice is setting the table for the next line coming out, you can get those sustained minutes of pressure that we’ve done a real good job at, particularly in second periods [with the long line change].”
2. Help the defense
The key to the Avalanche attack is the defensemen moving the puck quickly and hitting the forwards in stride so they can use their speed to their advantage.
But they’ve struggled with the Golden Knights’ pressure, too spread out at times, not hitting passes tape to tape at others. The forwards need to come back to help better, and they need to sustain more time in the Vegas zone.
“One of the things is finding some room in the offensive zone to try and get some things going off the cycle,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “We haven’t been able to find a bunch of space down there, so we’ve looked at some things and given our guys some ideas and some recommendations and we’ll see how we implement it tonight.”
3. Get the puck on net
When the Avalanche have had the puck in the offensive zone over the past three games, they haven’t done enough with it. They’ve had 61 shot attempts blocked and missed the net 31 times.
Bednar essentially said they have been too fancy, taking a split-second too long and allowing the Golden Knights to get in shooting lanes, trying to pick corners instead of generating rebounds.
Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been prone to rebounds.
“It doesn’t have to be a shot that goes in, but a playable puck to the net, I think, can help you create some chaos and some attack points on the ice,” Bednar said. “I feel like right now we’re just a little bit out of sync.”
Golden Knights projected lineup
Max Pacioretty — Chandler Stephenson — Mark Stone
Jonathan Marchessault — William Karlsson — Reilly Smith
Dylan Sikura — Nicolas Roy — Alex Tuch
William Carrier — Patrick Brown — Ryan Reaves
Alec Martinez — Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb — Shea Theodore
Nick Holden — Zach Whitecloud
Scratched: Cody Glass, Keegan Kolesar, Jimmy Schuldt, Jack Dugan, Kaedan Korczak, Jonas Rondbjerg, Carl Dahlstrom, Nicolas Hague
Injured: Peyton Krebs (jaw), Tomas Nosek (undisclosed), Mattias Janmark (upper body), Robin Lehner (undisclosed)
Avalanche projected lineup
Andre Burakovsky — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen
Gabriel Landeskog — J.T. Compher — Joonas Donskoi
Brandon Saad — Tyson Jost — Valeri Nichushkin
Alex Newhook — Pierre-Edouard Bellemare — Logan O’Connor
Devon Toews — Cale Makar
Ryan Graves — Samuel Girard
Patrik Nemeth — Conor Timmins
Scratched: Bowen Byram, Jonas Johansson, Jacob MacDonald, Jayson Megna, Liam O’Brien, Sampo Ranta, Dan Renouf, Kiefer Sherwood, Carl Soderberg
Injured: Matt Calvert (upper body)
Suspended: Nazem Kadri
Janmark was on the ice for the morning skate for the first time since the forward was injured on a hit by Graves in Game 1. … Kadri’s appeal of his eight-game suspension from the NHL Department of Player Safety was denied in a binding ruling by an independent arbitrator. The forward will serve the remainder of his suspension during Game 5 and Game 6 and will be eligible to play Game 7, if necessary. … O’Connor is an option to enter the lineup. The forward hasn’t played since March 31. … Compher and Sherwood weren’t at the morning skate but are available.
NHL.com staff writer Jon Lane and independent correspondents Danny Webster and Rick Sadowski contributed to this report