No. 7 Coyotes vs. No. 2 Avalanche
2 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN360, ALT, FS-A, FS-A PLUS
Colorado leads best-of-7 series, 1-0
Philipp Grubauer is expected to start for the Colorado Avalanche in Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round against the Arizona Coyotes at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Friday.
Grubauer made 14 saves in a 3-0 win in Game 1 on Wednesday in Edmonton, the West hub city. Teams that win Game 1 are 478-219 (68.6 percent) winning a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series.
Darcy Kuemper will start for Arizona after saving 37 of 40 shots in Game 1.
“Since I’ve been here, we’ve always bounced back after a subpar performance, we really have, so I’m looking for that trend,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said.
Here are 3 keys for Game 2:
1. More offense from Arizona
The Coyotes need to take some pressure off Kuemper, who has faced an average of 40.6 shots in five postseason games. They were outshot 40-14 on Wednesday, 28-7 in the first two periods. The top line of Taylor Hall, Christian Dvorak and Phil Kessel combined for three shots on goal.
“We had a good meeting [Thursday] about how we have to play,” Hall said. “It’s not just that we want to go out and get more scoring chances, it’s really what leads to it. Can we be more in their face? Can we pressure them in the neutral zone to force turnovers? Can we limit the time spent in our end? Can we force them to play on their heels a little bit? If we can just play with more pressure, make more plays, be comfortable with the puck, hopefully (we) gain some territory just a little bit better than we did.”
2. Colorado plays defense too
Much has been made of Colorado’s high-powered offense, but its defense has been solid. The Avalanche have permitted four goals (not counting a shootout goal) in four playoff games with two shutouts.
“It’s hard work and commitment,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “I believe our guys know what we’re trying to do on the defensive side from a tactical standpoint, from a structural standpoint. Some nights we’re better than others. It’s about having your legs and using your legs to check, putting teams under pressure. When we are on our toes and playing that way on the defensive side of it, then we’re a good checking team.”
3. Special teams
The Avalanche went 1-for-2 on the power play in Game 1 and are 5-for-18 (27.7 percent) in four postseason games. They were 2-for-2 on the penalty kill and 10-for-12 (83.3 percent) in the postseason. The Coyotes are 2-for-14 (14.2 percent) on power plays in five games and 11-for-16 (68.8 percent) killing penalties.
“I think we just need to shoot more,” Hall said of the power play. “Having a shot mentality helps any power play. If we can in the least get momentum by shooting and having some chances that way, that’ll help our team, but we can’t be a drag to our overall team play.”
Coyotes projected lineup
Taylor Hall — Christian Dvorak — Phil Kessel
Clayton Keller — Derek Stepan — Conor Garland
Lawson Crouse — Carl Soderberg — Christian Fischer
Michael Grabner — Brad Richardson — Vinnie Hinostroza
Oliver Ekman-Larsson — Jason Demers
Alex Goligoski — Niklas Hjalmarsson
Jakob Chychrun — Jordan Oesterle
Unfit to play: Nick Schmaltz
Avalanche projected lineup
Vladislav Namestnikov — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen
Gabriel Landeskog — Nazem Kadri — Valeri Nichushkin
Andre Burakovsky — J.T. Compher — Joonas Donskoi
Matt Nieto — Pierre-Edouard Bellemare — Matt Calvert
Ryan Graves — Cale Makar
Samuel Girard — Erik Johnson
Ian Cole — Nikita Zadorov
Scratched: Mark Barberio, Shane Bowers, Bowen Byram, Kevin Connauton, Sheldon Dries, Michael Hutchinson, Tyson Jost, Anton Lindholm, Logan O’Connor, Conor Timmins, T.J. Tynan
Unfit to play: Colin Wilson
Tocchet said Raanta practiced Thursday and might dress as Kuemper’s backup. He hasn’t been available since leaving after the first period against the Nashville Predators in Game 2 of the Cup Qualifiers. … Tocchet said Schmaltz practiced but his status “is up in the air again.” Schmaltz, a forward, was injured in an exhibition game against the Vegas Golden Knights on July 30.