It took 53 mins to open the scoring, but Nazem Kadri — the best player all night for the Colorado Avalanche — broke though on the power play and then the flood gates opened. Seven minutes later, the Avs skated to an easy 3-0 victory in their first game of the first round in the 2020 NHL playoffs over the Arizona Coyotes. Philipp Grubauer got the shutout in the win, stopping all 14 (!) shots he faced.
Penalties: Ari – Demars (12:06) 2 mins holding
Fast. Very fast. The Avs came at the Yotes in waves. Line after line. Putting up 13 shots with only three against, but Darcy Kuemper kept the door shut. Colorado played their game. Controlled the pace, limited the Coyotes in the defensive zone, and made the Coyotes chase them. Unfortunately, they had nothing to show for it yet, which fell right into the hands of Kuemper and the Coyotes. The Coyotes were doing an excellent job of clogging the middle of the ice and taking away lanes. It was starting to look very similar to the games they played against Nashville. Kadri led the Avs with three shots on goal and was all over the ice. Calvert- PEB- Neito also looked very good after a couple of shaky games.
Penalties: Col – Cole (16:22) 2 mins Roughing
The Avalanche continued to control the game, but still had nothing to show for it as the Coyotes kept everything to the outside for the most part, making life fairly easy for Kuemper. Kadri was the best player for the Avs through the first 40 minutes, including six shots on goal. He was physical, and for a time was on a line with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog. But as the period wore on, the Coyotes started to match the Avalanche intensity and the line blender came out. The big gun line of Landy, Mack, and Rantenan was out back together in hopes to spark an offense that hadn’t been able to generate enough high danger opportunities for their liking.
Penalties: Col - Burakovsky (8:08) holding, Ari - Stephan (12:21) interference, Col Zadorov (19:57) roughing, Ari Richardson (19:57) roughing
1) Kadri (13:05) Makar, Mackinnon (PPG)
2) Compher (13:15) Donskoi, Johnson
3) Rantenan (14:28) Mackinnon, Landeskog
It took 53 mins and a Derek Stepan penalty, but the Avalanche broke through with power play goal by Kadri to open the scoring. A point shot from Makar got to the net, leading to a rebound and Kadri got it home. That seemed to be the formula to break through to Kuemper and the floodgates opened.
Just 10 seconds later JT Compher took a loose puck from the slot and fired it home from an Erik Johnson point shot (who had a fantastic game) to make it a very quick two zip.
It took two periods, but the Avalanches big line of Mackinnon, Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen finally broke through. Landeskog entered the zone, took a big hit while passing the puck to Mackinnon, who made just the perfect pass to the back door for Mikko who tapped it in for the third goal in 83 seconds for the Avalanche.
From then the Avalanche just cruised to the finish line. As Arizona just couldn't find any offensive pressure all night.
Grubauer made 14 saves for the shutout. They weren’t all easy saves but he was there and he was solid all night.
Overall, this is the type of game we can expect moving forward. Arizona is going to clog up the middle and keep everything outside. If the Avalanche can hold off the Arizona attack and keep the pressure on, getting point shots and second chances at the net, they will break though like they did today.
My 3 stars of the game
⭐ Kadri - he was the best Avs player, get got them on the board. He was all over the place. Fantastic game from 91
⭐⭐ Erik Johnson - he was engaged offensively and was skating the best we have seen him in a long time. His point shot got though and was a big part of the 2nd goal. If this is the Erik Johnson continues to show up, thats a game changer for the Avs
⭐⭐⭐ - Darcy Kuemper - this game could've been 3 nothing after 1. But he was solid. He did his job. The goals he let in were messy. But if he continues to play at this level, they will be in every game.