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Colorado Avalanche Playoff Pregame: West Division Finals Game 4

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Can Colorado rebound on the round to regain a solid grasp on the series?

Vegas Golden Knights v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s gameday for what feels like another crucial game in the Colorado Avalanche’s best of seven matchup with the Vegas Golden Knights. Colorado will look to bounce back, with Philipp Grubauer playing incredibly between the pipes throughout the series and little to speak of from Nathan MacKinnon so far in the series.

Colorado Avalanche

After coughing up a 2-1 lead late in game three to ultimately drop a 3-2 decision, coach Jared Bednar was not happy with the effort levels of the players. Bednar highlighted this in his press conference; “For five periods straight now they’ve been far more competitive than we have, and to dissect the game any further than that is a waste of time. It’s a waste of time,”.

With the coaches’ statements in mind, there may be lineup changes tonight with rookie Bowen Byram seeming ready to contribute and Conor Timmins pitching in with a defense low 7:56 of ice time in the loss. Byram’s strong play in the regular season throughout matchups with Vegas bolster this case.

Projected Lineups

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Brandon Saad - Tyson Jost - Valeri Nichushkin
Joonas Donskoi - JT Compher - Andre Burakovsky
Kiefer Sherwood (or Alex Newhook) - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Carl Soderberg

Devon Toews - Cale Makar
Ryan Graves - Samuel Girard
Patrik Nemeth - Bowen Byram (Conor Timmins)

Vegas Golden Knights

The Golden Knights put together a solid performance in their comeback victory in game three. Marc-Andre Fleury did not have his best game of the playoffs, allowing the two Avalanche goals on only 20 shots against. However, the fact there were only those 20 shots speaks to how well Vegas were disrupting the Colorado offense through the neutral zone. Vegas will likely look to utilize a similar game plan and force Colorado to adjust to create goal scoring chances.

Projected Lineup

Max Pacioretty - Chandler Stephenson - Mark Stone
Jonathan Marchessault - William Karlsson - Alex Tuch
Dylan Sikura - Nicholas Roy - Reilly Smith
William Carrier - Patrick Brown - Keegan Kolesar

Shea Theodore - Alex Pietrangelo
Alec Martinez - Nick Holden
Nicolas Hague - Zach Whitecloud

Projected Goaltenders

Barring a pre-game injury, the goaltending matchup is likely to hold throughout the series. Grubauer has played extremely well throughout the series and may have had his best game yet in game three. The Avalanche netminder was forced into 40 saves on 43 shots faced. His 1.86 goals against average and .941 save percentage are outstanding and both improvements on his already impressive regular season numbers.

Fleury has also played well for Vegas in his two starts in the series. He sports impressive 1.88 GAA and .922 through the playoffs. Colorado has had better luck in the playoffs than in the regular season against Fleury and an improved performance in the neutral zone should help put more pressure on the Golden Knights goalie.