The NHL is set up with another exciting Monday of hockey. Four games will be up on the board throughout August 17. One of these games will be between the Colorado Avalanche and the Arizona Coyotes. These two teams have both fought hard in the series so far. This game will drop the puck at around 5:30 PM Eastern time on NBCSN.
The Avalanche had earned a record of 42-20-8, which had them in second place of the Western Conference. Colorado won two of their three round robin games, which kept them in second place of the Western Conference. The Avalanche are now in their first round matchup with a 2-1 series lead. Colorado will look to take a stranglehold on the series with a win on Monday night.
Arizona finished out the regular season with a record of 33-29-8, which had them in eleventh place of the Western Conference. The Coyotes met up with the Nashville Predators in the Qualifying round. Arizona was able to knock off the Predators in four games, which got them here. Now the Coyotes will look to tie up this series on Monday.
These two teams are in the middle of an exciting series so far. I expect these two teams to come out strong on Monday night as they try and get on the board early. The Coyotes were able to earn a lead early in Game 3 of this series, which helped them earn a win. Colorado will look to continue to apply the pressure on Arizona to take a 3-1 series lead.
The Avalanche and the Coyotes met up twice throughout the regular season. Colorado hosted the first game and it was Andre Burakovsky who scored in overtime to give the Avalanche the win. The second game shifted to Arizona, where Phil Kessel scored a goal and an assist to give the Coyotes a 3-0 win to tie up the season series.
Game 1 of this series was back on August 12. These two teams kept it close through the first two periods, entering the third tied at 0-0. Nazem Kadri, J.T. Compher and Mikko Rantanen all scored less than 90 seconds apart. Philipp Grubauer finished with a 14 shot shutout, while Darcy Kuemper stopped 37 of 40 shots in the loss. Colorado took Game 1 with a 3-0 win.
These two teams met in an exciting Game 2 on August 14. Michael Grabner and Clayton Keller both scored for Arizona to keep it tied going into the third period again. Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Jost both scored for the Avalanche as it was 2-2 in the third period. Andre Burakovsky scored in the third to propel Colorado to a win. Philipp Grubauer stopped 30 of 32 shots in the Avalanche’s 3-2 win.
The most recent meeting of this series was on August 15. Andre Burakovsky and Mikko Rantanen both had goals for Colorado, but it was not enough. Jason Demers had two assists, while Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist. Darcy Kuemper had a huge night stopping 49 of the 51 shots he faced as the Coyotes cut the series deficit in half with a 4-2 win.
Colorado had a solid special team unit throughout the regular season. The Avalanche capitalized on 19.1 percent of their opportunities, while killing off 81.4 percent of the penalties against them. Colorado has been doing well in the playoffs. The Avalanche have a power play success rate of 20 percent and a penalty kill percentage of 89.5 percent.
The Coyotes also had a solid season when it came to special teams this season. Arizona was able to earn a 19.2 percent power play throughout the season. The Coyotes also killed off 82.7 percent of the penalties against them. Arizona’s special teams have not done nearly as well in the playoffs. The Coyotes have a power play rate of 9.5 percent and a 78.3 percent kill rate.
The Avalanche hold a major advantage in this series when it comes to special teams. Colorado’s power play and penalty kill have been doing much better since the playoffs started. The Avalanche will look to capitalize on the power play in this one to try and give themselves an edge. The Coyotes need to get either their power play or penalty kill going if they want to tie up this series.
I expect Philipp Grubauer to get the start in the crease for the Avalanche in this one. Grubauer earned a record of 18-12-4 throughout the regular season. He posted a save percentage of .916 and a 2.63 GAA throughout those starts. In the playoffs, Grubauer has earned a .933 save percentage and a GAA of 1.73. Colorado will look for Grubauer to put up a strong performance on Monday night to try and give them a win.
Darcy Kuemper will get the nod in net for the Coyotes in Game 4 of this series. Kuemper finished out the regular season with a record of 16-11-2. He put up a .928 save percentage and a 2.22 GAA through his games played. Kuemper has started all seven of Arizona’s playoff games, putting up a save percentage of .933 and a GAA of 2.70.
These two goalies have played really well throughout this season. Grubauer has played well in his starts for Colorado and will look to have another strong performance. Kuemper has stood extremely tall for Arizona at times, taking 40 shots or more in two of the three games in this series. If the Avalanche keep up this pressure though, I believe they will break through on him in Game 4.
The Coyotes are coming off a nice win in Game 3 to cut the series to 2-1. Now Colorado will look to come back in Game 4 to make the series 3-1. I believe that the Avalanche have a good chance to dominate in this one. Colorado has the better special team unit and if they keep the pressure on the Coyotes, eventually they will just break through like Game 1.
BetOnline has Colorado listed as a -170 against the money line. This implies that the Avalanche will win this game around 63 percent of the time. I believe that this line is right, but there is little value in it. The Avalanche are also at -1 ½ for +155, which has a lot of value to me. I think that Colorado can dominate the Coyotes if they can break through on Kuemper.