Friday, June 4, 2021 | 3 p.m.
The Colorado Avalanche, with their stable of offensive talent, naturally have a pretty good power play. The Golden Knights have seen what that unit can do far too often in this series.
Vegas held the Avalanche to just one power-play goal in 21 opportunities in the regular season but have already given up four goals on 11 chances in the first two games of the series. The Golden Knights’ penalty kill, the top-rated unit in the league in the regular season, has had its work cut out of it so far in the second round, and the Golden Knights will look to limit the Avalanche power play in Game 3 at 7 p.m. today at T-Mobile Arena.
“Their power play is really good for them. They got two goals for them last game, a couple the game before that,” Vegas forward Keegan Kolesar said. “They have a very dangerous power play, so we’ve got to do everything we can to stay out of the box.”
Part of allowing the four power-play goals is having an extra man in the box 11 times, an uncharacteristic number for Vegas.
The Golden Knights were one of the least penalized teams in the league in the regular season, going short-handed an average of 2.57 times per game, fourth-least in the league. It was even better in the first round against the Wild, as the Golden Knights were short-handed just 11 times in seven games, or 1.57 times per game.
The 11 power-play chances Vegas has given the Avalanche is the most by any team in the second round. Putting Colorado on the power play at least five times a game is a recipe for disaster, even with a regular season penalty-killing unit that was successful at a league-best 86.8% clip.
“We’ve got to do a better job,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “Our PK depth has been tested with (Tomas) Nosek and (Mattias) Janmark out of the lineup, and the guys that are getting some of those minutes in place of those guys have got to get the job done for us when they get in there.”
The Golden Knights are expecting the same lineup as Game 2, with one possible exception. Alex Tuch did not take the ice for morning skate, putting his status for tonight into question. DeBoer said Tuch and everyone else not on the ice for practice are game-time decisions.
If Tuch can’t go, the Golden Knights will turn to Cody Glass, who skated in his spot at practice. Glass made his postseason debut in Game 6 against the Wild, and if he skates on the third line with Dylan Sikura and Nicolas Roy, that will form a line with 31 combined games of postseason experience. Roy has provided 29 of those.
Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to start after saving 22 of 25 shots in Game 2. The Vezina Trophy finalist started all seven games of the first round but did not play Game 1 when Vegas allowed a franchise-high seven playoff goals.
Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 2
Series: Avalanche lead 2-0
TV: NBC Sports Network (DirecTV 220, Cox 38, CenturyLink 640)
Radio: Fox Sports 1340 AM and 98.9 FM
Betting line: Golden Knights minus-115, Avalanche minus-105; over/under: 5.5 (minus-105, minus-115)
Golden Knights (4-5, West Division No. 2 seed)
Coach: Pete DeBoer (second season)
Points leader: Mattias Janmark (6)
Goals leader: Mark Stone (4)
Assists leader: Chandler Stephenson (5)
Expected goalie: Marc-Andre Fleury (1.86 GAA, .924 save percentage)
Avalanche (6-0, West Division No. 1 seed)
Coach: Jared Bednar (fifth season)
Points leader: Nathan MacKinnon (13)
Goals leader: Nathan MacKinnon (8)
Assists leaders: Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen (7)
Expected goalie: Philipp Grubauer (1.66 GAA, .943 save percentage)
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—Keegan Kolesar
Alec Martinez—Alex Pietrangelo
Nick Holden—Shea Theodore
Nicolas Hague—Zach Whitecloud
Marc-Andre Fleury, Robin Lehner