To say Game 1 was a disappointment for the Avalanche is an understatement. The bottom three lines got completely dominated by the Seattle Kraken, and the Avs find themselves in a unique situation being behind in a first-round series for the first time in over five years. Colorado has to play tonight with some desperation to match Seattle’s passion, otherwise, they will head back to the Pacific Northwest in as deep of a playoff hole as this group of players has ever been in.
Avs got absolutely smoked. Really hate the "X team wanted it more" form of analysis, but it's hard not to look at this shot chart where the Avs chances are almost exclusively confined to the corners, and believe they played as hard as Seattle did tonight. pic.twitter.com/gtj7FgP5PW— Jacob Weindling (@Jakeweindling) April 19, 2023
Colorado has to play with more fire than they did in Game 1. They didn’t really start playing their aggressive forechecking brand of hockey until late in the second period, and at that point, they were chasing the game and their improved effort fell short. The main culprit behind the loss was a lack of execution according to Jared Bednar, as the idea that the Avalanche didn’t play hard is bunk, but the shot chart from Game 1 provides compelling evidence that they did not play as hard as Seattle did.
All that said, there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic going into Game 2. As Jared Bednar said, the Avs played far from their best game, gifted Seattle two goals, hit two posts, and lost by two. With a little more luck, like Alexandar Georgiev’s great save off Devon Toews’ brutal giveaway not bouncing right back onto a Kraken stick to gift Seattle their first goal, or Nathan Mackinnon and Bowen Byram’s shots hitting the right side of the post instead of the wrong one, the Avs would have snuck out a victory in Game 1. The Kraken needs a lot of things to go right to win this series, and Game 1 was a perfect example of it.
Evan Rodrigues — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen
Valeri Nichushkin — J.T. Compher — Artturi Lehkonen
Alex Newhook — Lars Eller — Denis Malgin
Matt Nieto — Andrew Cogliano — Logan O’Connor
Devon Toews — Cale Makar
Samuel Girard — Bo Byram
Josh Manson — Erik Johnson
Note: Jack Johnson was the announced starter for Game 1, but he hurt himself in warmups and was scratched in favor of Erik Johnson. Darren Helm has been practicing and Jared Bednar has said he may play in this series but because it’s the playoffs, your guess is as good as anyone’s outside the Colorado locker room as to when he’ll return from injury. These above were the expected lines coming into the series, but Jared Bednar hinted that he may change the lines around, so don’t be surprised to see Artturi Lehkonen or Val Nichushkin back on the top line and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines jumbled around after getting dominated in Game 1.
Seattle Kraken Projected Lines
Jared McCann — Yanni Gourde — Jordan Eberle
Jaden Schwartz — Alexander Wennberg — Morgan Geekie
Eeli Tolvanen — Matthew Beniers — Oliver Bjorkstrand
Jesper Froden — Ryan Donato — Brandon Tanev
Vince Dunn — Adam Larsson
Jamie Oleksiak — William Borgen
Carson Soucy — Justin Schultz