Colorado Avalanche at Tampa Bay Lightning Game 4 preview and Game Day Thread

Colorado Avalanche at Tampa Bay Lightning: Game Four

Location: Amalie Arena

Time: 8:00 p.m. EST

Broadcast/Stream: ABC, CBC, TVAS, SN, ESPN+

Opponent’s SBNation site: Mile High Hockey

In game three, her first big hit landed in the Stanley Cup final. After the Avalanche got them on the ropes with a dominating performance in the second game, the return to Tampa proved beneficial as the Bolts survived a first-half push (with a goal reversed), dominated in the second half and settled claimed in the third. The win was nice, but at that point they only secured a fifth game. A win tonight, however, flips the script of the series.

Mid-frame success was directly related to her ability to get to the middle of the ice and fire shots at the net. They had 15 shot attempts at 5v5, 11 of which found their way onto or in the net. They produced 6 dangerous chances and scored 3 times. The 6 HDCF was the most they posted in a single period across all series (in fact they only had 9 total across games one and two).

It showed that the Colorado defense (and goaltenders) can be exploited when the Blitz can maintain possession. The longer they stay in the avalanche zone, the less time they have to worry about Nathan MacKinnon breaking his goalless streak. Despite being fired upon in the third period (22 attempts at 2 shots), they managed to delay the comeback. Giving the other team 91.57 xGF% isn’t exactly a path to success.

Expect Colorado to continue their strong start as they absolutely dominated the early periods in the first three games. In the first 20 minutes, the Avalanche Out attempted the Lightning 76-53, generating 14 big danger chances for the Bolts 9 and outplaying them 7 to 3 in all situations.

One of the main differences from game three was that Andrei Vasilevskiy was sharp from the start, his save on JT Compher’s rebound attempt was the game’s real turning point. Since Vasy was making these kinds of saves (and not allowing goals in 5v5) it gave the players a bit more freedom to push their offense, which they did in the second period.

With an optional morning game day skate, we’re not sure how the Lightning will handle their recent spate of injuries. Coach Cooper hinted that he will field the same lineup as in game three:

Expect the Avs to target Kucherov, not necessarily physically but by forcing him to move with the puck. Whatever ails him is lower body related and there’s a good chance he’s not having his usual fluctuation.

As for Colorado, Andre Burakovsky is probably still out since he was in Denver yesterday. It’s possible that Nazem Kadri will make his series debut, but when he does, he won’t be at 100%. The decision Jared Bednar has to make is whether Kadri at 75% is better than the options he currently has in the lineup like Nico Strum or Nicolas Aube-Kubel.

He has not yet announced his goalkeeper. Darcy Kuemper was let down by his defense in game three but also struggled with some stopable goals and deflected the shots he stopped. Pascal Francouz was better than Kuemper in the playoffs but still posted average numbers. When he entered the series, he had a 0.906 SV%, 2.86 GAA and -1.72 goals that were held well above average.

No matter who’s in the net for the Avalanche, the Lightning must keep putting the pucks in the net. Wreak havoc in front of the net, grab the loose pucks and keep them on your heels. Win tonight and it’s a best of three. Loss takes them to the brink, forcing them to win three straight games with two of the games in Colorado. So yes, no pressure.

Tampa Bay Lightning potential lines

Forward

Ondrej Palat – Steven Stamkos – Nikita Kucherov

Brandon Hagel-Anthony Cirelli-Alex Killorn

Nick Paul-Ross Colton-Corey Perry

Patrick Maroon-Pierre-Edoauard Bellemare-Riley Nash

defense

Victor Hedman – Jan Rutta

Ryan McDonagh — Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev — Zach Bogosian

goalkeeper

Andrei Vasilyevsky

Brian Eliot

Colorado avalanche potential lines

Forward

Gabriel Landeskog – Nathan MacKinnon – Valeri Nichushkin

Artturi Lehkonen-JT Compher-Mikko Rantanen

Alex Newhook, Nico Strum, Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Andrew Cogliano – Darren Helm – Logan O’Connor

defense

Devon Toews—Cale Makar

Jack Johnson—Josh Manson

Bowen Byram- Erik Johnson

goalkeeper

Paul french

Darcy Kumper

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