The Colorado Avalanche find themselves in a bit of a predicament. The Colorado Avalanche won the first two games of the series by a combined score of 10-3. In games three and four, Vegas found a way to win both games. That makes game five on Wednesday night super pivotal for the series.
The winner of game five usually indicates the winner of the series. The winner of game five has gone on to win the series almost 79% of the time. Coming into Wednesday night’s game, all of the momentum will be on the side of the Golden Knights. Despite the lack of momentum, Colorado may not need to panic just yet.
Home Ice Advantage
Wednesday night’s game five will be played in Colorado which will benefit the Avalanche a lot. Games one and two were played in Colorado and both games were Colorado victories. During the regular season, Colorado tied the league lead with 22 wins on home ice.
Despite the league-high 22 home victories, Vegas did hand Colorado two of their six home losses. However, that was the regular season. In the postseason, Colorado has yet to concede a game on home ice. In their four home games, they have averaged five goals per game.
On the flip side, Vegas has lost three consecutive road playoff games this postseason after winning their first two games on the road. In their last three road playoff games, they’ve only managed to score three total goals. During that three-game stretch they were even shutout by the Minnesota Wild in game six of that series.
Nathan MacKinnon is Due for a Bounce-Back Performance
Nathan MacKinnon has been great for the Avalanche during the postseason. His team-leading eight goals and 13 points have been a huge reason for the success of Colorado in the playoffs. Unfortunately for him, Vegas has held him without a point these last two games.
The two-game scoreless drought for MacKinnon ties his longest drought of the season. Historically speaking, he has yet to go three games without tallying a point this season. In home games in the postseason, MacKinnon has been exceptionally lethal. 11 of his 13 points in the postseason have come on home ice.
In what feels like a must-win game for the Avalanche, MacKinnon should contribute offensively on home ice.
Supporting Cast Coming Up Clutch for Colorado
Aside from the success of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog have put together impressive postseason campaigns of their own. Landeskog’s four goals and eight assists are good enough for second on the team in points and first on the team in assists. Rantanen’s four goals and seven assists make him the third Avalanche player to tally double figures in points in the playoffs.
One player that has been having a good 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs has been Brandon Saad. After tallying 15 goals in 44 regular season games this past season, Saad has found the back of the net in six of the eight playoff games for Colorado.
Game Five Struggles for Vegas
In their young history as a franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights have not found consistent success in the fifth game of a seven-game series. In the midst of their fourth playoff run, Vegas has lost their last five appearances in a game five they have played in dating back to the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals.
Cover Image Courtesy of Andy Devlin – NHLI via Getty Images.