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Colorado Avalanche Game Day: Pivotal game 5 against Golden Knights

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Colorado looks to stem the tide and win game five.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Vegas Golden Knights at Colorado Avalanche Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The best of seven series between the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights is knotted at two games apiece. One of these teams will claim the advantage in this series after tonight’s matchup at Ball Arena in Denver, CO.

COLORADO AVALANCHE

The Avalanche were more competitive in game four, but that still wasn’t enough. The execution just hasn’t been there, and it hasn’t been there for what is widely considered the best line in the NHL. MacKinnon, Landeskog, and Rantanen were held to a mere three shots on the night in game four. If the Colorado Avalanche wants to have a chance in this series, that needs to change. Plain and simple.

The Avs made it their preseason goal to finish atop the west and secure home-ice advantage. They did just that and are hoping to enjoy the spoils of their hard work in what will now be a best of three series with two games being at home. Colorado is 22-4-2 at Ball Arena this season. Win at home, and win the series.

PROJECTED FORWARDS

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen

Brandon Saad - Tyson Jost - Andre Burakovsky

Valeri Nichushkin - JT Compher - Joonas Donskoi

Carl Soderberg - Pierre Edouard Bellemare - Keifer Sherwood (Alex Newhook)

DEFENDERS

Devon Toews - Cale Makar

Sam Girard - Ryan Graves

Conor Timmins - Patrik Nemeth (Bowen Byram)

Note: Many fans called for Avalanche defender Bowern Byram to replace Patrik Nemeth after his debacle in game four. Jared Bednar did mention that special teams (penalty kill) will contribute to that decision and that Byram concerns him given his recent time away from the ice.

UPDATE: The Condor is on the ice in a regular jersey for the game day skate. It’s not likely that Johnson will be available for tonight’s game but this is a huge boost for the team - even if it is from just a moral perspective.

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS

The Golden Knights are coming off their best game of the series thus far. Jonathan Marchessault was hard to miss logging the first postseason hat-trick of his career.

Vegas has controlled the play over the last eight periods of this playoff series and will do their best to continue that trend. Let’s be honest. Vegas is a great team built to make a cup run. The series was never supposed to be easy for either squad.

FORWARDS

Max Pacioretty - Chandler Stephenson - Mark Stone

Jonathan Marchessault - William Karlsson - Reilly Smith

Dylan Sikura - Nicolas Roy - Alex Tuch

Will Carrier - Patrick Brown - Keegan Kolesar

DEFENDERS

Shea Theodore - Alex Pietrangelo

Alec Martinez - Nick Holden

Nicolas Hague - Zach Whitecloud

GOALTENDERS

The Avalanche will go with Philipp Grubauer between the pipes. Grubauer had his worst game (statistically) in game four but otherwise has been among the best goaltenders to play in the postseason.

On the other end, Vegas will go with their Vezina Trophy candidate Marc Andre Fleury. Fleury gave up some juicy rebounds in game four and has also been very reliable throughout the playoffs.