Unfortunately one of the top two teams in the NHL will not make it to the semifinal round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Vegas Golden Knights leveled the best-of-seven West Division series with the Colorado Avalanche at 2-2 by holding serve on home ice.
The teams return to Denver for the pivotal Game 5 on Tuesday with Vegas seizing momentum following a 5-1 victory. Colorado hasn’t lost in regulation at home in their last 21 games, but they will need a better effort from their top line, which was held off the scoresheet on Sunday.
This NHL Stanley Cup Playoff game takes place on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 and will air live on NBCSN with puck drop at 9 p.m. ET from Ball Arena in Denver, CO.
Vegas Golden Knights vs Colorado Avalanche Game 5 Odds
Money Line: Vegas Golden Knights +123 | Colorado Avalanche -143
Puck Line: Vegas Golden Knights +1.5 -195 | Colorado Avalanche -1.5 +166
Series to Date
The results through four games are pretty much what we expected from the teams that led the NHL with 82 points during the regular season. How they got there is another story. Colorado maintained its dominance at home winning the first two games, including a 7-1 triumph in the opener. They continued their winning ways in Game 2 getting an overtime power play goal from Mikko Rantanen for the 3-2 edge.
Colorado was on the verge of going up 3-0 in the series until a late metdown cost them in Game 3. Trailing 2-1 late in the third, Vegas woke up getting goals less than a minute apart then got several acrobatic saves from Marc-Andre Fleury to preserve the 3-2 win.
Avalanche coach Jared Bednar was incensed by his team’s lackluster effort and laid into the group. It seemingly paid off when Brandon Saad scored early in Game 4 for a 1-0 lead. That was all the Avalanche would get, though, and the Golden Knights evened the series with a 5-1 victory backed by a hat trick from Jonathan Marchessault. Playing on home ice should help Colorado emerge from the slumber they’re in.
The top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Rantanen was held without a point in Game 4 and none of the three have an even-strength point in their past three games. Colorado has been a good bet at home going 16-0-1 over the final 17 regular season games and winning all four playoff contests by a combined score of 20-7.
Vegas Golden Knights
Momentum is a funny thing and right now it all belongs to Vegas. They were rewarded for their relentless effort in Game 3 and after falling behind on Sunday they scored five unanswered. Vegas has controlled the series since the middle of Game 2 and did a number on Colorado’s top line after allowing the trio to collect eight points in the opener.
Vegas should feel good about its chances of winning in Denver. The Knights handed the Avalanche two of their six home setbacks this season getting a 34-save shutout from Fleury in a 3-0 decision in February. Max Pacioretty scored in overtime for a 3-2 win in late March. Fleury has been a rock in net helping to stifle Colorado’s high-powered attack. He sat out Game 1 when Colorado scored seven times, but he’s been back in net since giving up six goals in the past three games. Fleury boasts a 1.79 GAA and .924 save percentage this postseason.
Colorado led the NHL in scoring during the regular season with Rantanen (66), MacKinnon (65) and Landeskog (52) each collecting more than 50 points. The trio accounted for over 35 percent of the team’s goal production. So it’s pretty obvious what the Avalanche need to do in order to regain control of the series. “We didn’t think we were going to come in here and take both games. We didn’t play as good as we should’ve but we’re going back to the building where we have success and we play well at,” Saad said.
A good start would be to put more pucks on net. Colorado has been outshot 119-63 over the last three games and outscored 9-4 since the second period of Game 2. “The hardest working player we have right now is (goalie) Philipp Grubauer,” Bednar said. Vegas was inspired by its raucous crowd and the Avalanche should get fired up for Game 5. Having the last change will allow for better matchups and Colorado needs the second-best postseason power play unit to come through.
Golden Knights vs Avalanche Game 5 Prediction
Our best bets: Colorado Avalanche -143 and OVER 5.5
Colorado will find a way to utilize its superior speed and the top line won’t go scoreless again, the group is just too good. They may not produce five goals and three assists like they did in Game 1, but anything is better than nothing. I like the Avalanche to respond after a dreadful Game 5 to pull out the victory on home ice where they’ve been nearly unbeatable.
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