3 Keys: Coyotes vs. Avalanche, Game 5 of Western First Round


No. 7 Coyotes vs. No. 2 Avalanche

5:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHLN, SN360, ALT, FS-A, FS-A PLUS

Colorado leads best-of-7 series, 3-1

The Colorado Avalanche will look to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they play the Arizona Coyotes in Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Wednesday.

The Avalanche outshot the Coyotes 30-15 in a 7-1 win in Game 4 in Edmonton, the Western hub city, on Monday. It was the second time they’ve held Arizona to 15 or fewer shots in the series (14 in a 3-0 win in Game 1).

“It’s how you bounce back,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said Tuesday. “It’s how you make a stand. You look for players not to hide. We’re looking for a lot of those characteristics [to] come out (Wednesday). We knew it was going to be a huge challenge, but we have to give ourselves a fighting chance. … We saw a lot of chinks in the armor in that game. We need some guys to just reboot it and come back with a battle and a will to win.”

Goalie Darcy Kuemper will make his ninth straight start for Arizona. He was pulled in Game 4 after allowing four goals on 22 shots and replaced by Antti Raanta, who made five saves. 

Philipp Grubauer is expected to start for the Avalanche. He is 3-0 with a 1.00 GAA and .951 save percentage in the series.

Here are 3 keys to Game 5:


1. Centers of attention

Colorado’s top two centers, Nathan MacKinnon and Nazem Kadri, have combined for 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in the first four games. MacKinnon has six points (one goal, five assists), and Kadri has five (three goals, two assists), including two game-winning goals. 

Arizona’s top two centers, Derek Stepan and Christian Dvorak, have scored one goal.

Video: COL@ARI, Gm4: Kadri cleans up in front on power play


2. Grubauer holding his own

Grubauer hasn’t faced a lot of shots in the series (61), but he has been solid when needed and is 4-0-1 with a 1.59 GAA and .933 save percentage in five postseason games.

“He’s been great,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “I’ve liked what I’ve seen, his work ethic has been great. This time of the year just drives the best out of our guys. He’s been equal to the task and I’ve loved what I’ve seen from him to this point.”


3. Positive vibes

Arizona defenseman Jordan Oesterle said the Coyotes had a good practice Tuesday and are feeling good despite facing elimination.

“The way we’ve handled the playoffs is kind of short [memory] mentality and [we] flush a win or a loss that same night,” he said. “Everyone came back to the rink and we had a rejuvenated practice, and everyone was upbeat and lively, and everyone’s in good spirits, so we’re ready for Game 5 to give it our all.” 


Coyotes projected lineup

Taylor Hall — Derek Stepan — Clayton Keller

Conor Garland — Christian Dvorak — Phil Kessel

Lawson CrouseCarl SoderbergChristian Fischer

Michael GrabnerBrad RichardsonVinnie Hinostroza

Oliver Ekman-LarssonJason Demers

Alex GoligoskiNiklas Hjalmarsson

Jakob Chychrun — Jordan Oesterle

Darcy Kuemper

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Brayden Burke, Kyle Capobianco, Michael Chaput, Hudson Fasching, Jordan Gross, Barrett Hayton, Adin Hill, Ilya Lyubushkin, Aaron Ness, Victor Soderstrom

Unfit to play: Nick Schmaltz


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen

Andre Burakovsky — Nazem Kadri — Joonas Donskoi

Tyson JostJ.T. CompherValeri Nichushkin

Matt NietoPierre-Edouard BellemareMatt Calvert

Ryan GravesCale Makar

Samuel GirardIan Cole

Nikita ZadorovErik Johnson

Philipp Grubauer

Pavel Francouz

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Shane Bowers, Bowen Byram, Kevin Connauton, Sheldon Dries, Michael Hutchinson, Anton Lindholm, Logan O’Connor, Conor Timmins, T.J. Tynan

Unfit to play: Vladislav Namestnikov, Colin Wilson


Status report

Tocchet said Garland and Schmaltz didn’t practice Tuesday and that he didn’t know if either would be available. Garland was injured in the second period of Game 3, and Schmaltz hasn’t played since he was injured in an exhibition game against the Vegas Golden Knights on July 30. … Bednar said he thought Burakovsky would play after the forward left in the third period Monday after blocking a shot. … Namestnikov, who hasn’t played since sustaining an injury in Game 2, is day to day. 

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