Following its second straight 7-1 victory, the Avalanche are moving on to Round 2.
After a statement 7-1 drubbing of Arizona in Game 4, Colorado repeated the performance against the mismatched Coyotes on Wednesday to finish the series in five games at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
Centers Nazem Kadri and Nathan MacKinnon each scored two goals and Philipp Grubauer made 23 saves to finish 4-0 in the first round. Colorado dominated the Coyotes in four of five games, outscoring the lower-seeded team 22-8 and outshooting them 185-108.
“The smile says it all,” Kadri said of advancing to the second round. “I’m fortunate and lucky to be in an opportunity to come into such a great dressing room with great teammates. A great organization that gave me a chance to be who I can be. They believed in me since I stepped in the door and I’m just trying not to let them down.”
Colorado joins Vegas in the second round and awaits its next opponent. If the Dallas Stars defeat the Calgary Flames, the Stars will be locked into a second-round matchup against the Avs. If Calgary eliminates Dallas, the Flames will matchup against Vegas and Colorado will play the winner of the Vancouver and St. Louis series — currently tied 2-2.
Similar to Game 4, the Avs jumped out to a 3-0 lead through 20 minutes with Kadri scoring twice. The Avs then added another three in the second period to chase goaltender Darcy Kuemper for the second consecutive game.
The mismatch did not end there. Colorado killed 15-of-16 minor penalties while also capitalizing on 7-of-20 power-play opportunities. Kadri’s four power-play goals in the series match an Avalanche record (Valeri Kamensky, 1997).
“Naz is a guy that always wants the puck and always wants to be involved,” Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog said. “He found a really good spot in the middle (of the first power-play unit). We’ve been working all year long trying to perfect the power play and perfect some of those plays. Tonight and really all throughout the series he’s found the back of the net which is good to see.”
Kadri has five power-play goals since the NHL restart. The last time an Avalanche player scored five playoff goals on the power play was current general manager Joe Sakic in 2001. Kadri is also tied with Vancouver’s Bo Horvat with a league-leading six playoff goals in 2020.
“I’m playing with great players,” Kadri said of the Avs top power-play unit. “We’re drawing lots of opportunities to get into a rhythm. We know special teams are going to be key heading down the stretch. We have good chemistry on that first unit and second unit as well. Everyone is on the same page. We talk amongst each other, we draw up some plays and we execute at a high level.”
Colorado’s consecutive six-goal victories in Games 4 and 5 came after Arizona’s 4-2 victory in Game 3. Kuemper stopped 49 shots despite the Avalanche outshooting his team 51-23. At the conclusion of the game, the Avs repeatedly acknowledged their intention to continue to pepper Kuemper with shots. Kuemper surrendered 11 goals in the two losses.
“Early on in the series it was really close games,” Landeskog said. “We found ways to outshoot them by quite a bit but Kuemper played well. We stuck to our game plan and even though we lost Game 3 we came back at them and kept playing our game. We said early on that we were going to wear them down and that was our game plan and we stuck to it.”