The Avalanche couldn’t solve Darcy Kuemper in Game 3, but the Avs made it look easy against Kuemper and the Coyotes in Game 4. With a 7-1 win, the Avalanche now lead the Coyotes 3-1 in their First Round series.
Avalanche dominate Coyotes in Game 4 — this time Kadri & Co. get results
Much like in Game 3, the Avalanche controlled the puck for virtually all of Game 4 against the Coyotes. The key difference is that the Avs succeeded in taking advantage of their opportunities.
Things really fell apart for the Coyotes late in the first period. Following the 1-0 goal by Matt Nieto with a bit less than six minutes remaining in the first, Nazem Kadri connected on two straight power-play goals. In the span of less than six minutes, the Avalanche built what looked like an insurmountable lead. After all, the Coyotes only managed as many shots on goal (three) as the Avs scored during the first period.
From there, the Avalanche kept pouring it on, as Joonas Donskoi cashed in on nice work by Kadri and Andre Burakovsky for the 4-0 goal. While Jakob Chychrun got the Coyotes on the board with a booming power-play goal later on in the second, it was a one-sided affair overall.
[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
Nastiness late with hit on Makar, MacKinnon fight
During the third period, the Coyotes mercy-pulled Darcy Kuemper, and it didn’t really make much of a difference.
One couldn’t help but feel some sympathy for Alex Goligoski (and Antti Raanta) as Cale Makar scored a beautiful goal in the third.
The Avs are unrelenting!
Makar makes it 5-1 to the @Avalanche!#GoAvsGo | #StanleyCup
💻: https://t.co/EfdQKFO7Tm pic.twitter.com/c5M1Vdykcv
— #StanleyCup Playoffs on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) August 17, 2020
The Avalanche scored two more goals, and coach Jared Bednar made the questionable decision to keep top players out there in Game 4. Personally, I’m not sure I’d want to see Cale Makar subjected to the sort of hit he took, and for MacKinnon to get in a fight. Even when MacKinnon wins that fight.
We’ve seen plenty of players suffer hand injuries thanks to ill-advised fights. Imagine how little the Avalanche would gain if MacKinnon broke a hand understandably sticking up for Makar?
It doesn’t seem like there were injuries from either moment, but that’s a situation to monitor. Either way, it seemed like a foolish risk. Perhaps you just have to “let them play,” risks or not?
No doubt, it’s impossible to ignore how red-hot Kadri was, who scored two goals and one assist to give him nine playoff points already. With as dangerous as Nathan MacKinnon and others continue to be, a deeper Avs team is very scary not just for the overmatched Coyotes, but really the rest of the West and NHL.
The Avalanche get a chance to eliminate the Coyotes in Game 5 on Wednesday (5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).
No. 2 Colorado Avalanche vs. No. 7 Arizona Coyotes (COL leads 3-1)
Wednesday, Aug. 12: Avalanche 3, Coyotes 0 (recap)
Friday, Aug. 14: Avalanche 3, Coyotes 2 (recap)
Saturday, Aug. 15: Coyotes 4, Avalanche 2 (recap)
Monday, Aug. 17: Avalanche 7, Coyotes 1
Wednesday, Aug. 19: Arizona at Colorado, 5:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN (livestream)
*Friday, Aug. 21: Colorado at Arizona – TBD
*Sunday, Aug. 23: Arizona at Colorado – TBD
• Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.