Friday night begins the next chapter in the Colorado Avalanche playoff season as they travel to San Jose to take on the surging Sharks.
San Jose is fresh off of a thriller of a game seven against the Las Vegas Golden Knights, setting up a second-round series with the Colorado Avalanche. Thriller may not even cover the outcome of that game seven with San Jose spotting The Knights a three-goal lead, storming back in the third to take a 4-3 lead and then winning 5-4 in overtime. Most interesting were the four goals the Sharks scored on a Cody Eakin major, received for cross-checking Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, who hit the ice awkwardly and was left unconscious and bleeding.
The comeback mirrored the Sharks participation in the first round series, winning the first game, going down 3-1 and then winning the series in seven.
On the season, the Sharks and goalie Martin Jones own a perfect 3-0 record against the Colorado Avalanche but if the regular season was an indicator of playoff success, we’d be previewing a Golden Knights/Calgary Flames matchup.
What’s significant for the Avalanche now is that they have a hot goalie in Philipp Grubauer and the hottest of top lines with Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Alexander Kerfoot on the top line and Mikko Rantanen lighting it up from the right side on the second line. Rantanen is third in the league in playoff scoring with five goals and four assists. Mikko is first in scoring with the elimination of the Knights whose players held the top two spots.
Colorado has been resting since eliminating the Flames a week ago. The Avs had a much easier time with the top-seeded Flames than San Jose did with the Knights (who seem to defy convention). As with everything in the NHL playoffs, that rest could be an advantage or a detriment.
How’s that for analysis?
That’s the thing, there’s no real way to find advantages that are hard-and-fast either way. The Avalanche will benefit from Sharks captain and top-line winger Pavelski being unable to go for the series opener.
What we seem to know for sure is that if you make it to the second-round, anything is possible and the Colorado Avalanche are in the second round. It will be exciting to see how far they can take it.