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3 Keys: Golden Knights at Avalanche, Game 5 of second round

Vegas controlling 5-on-5 shot attempts; Colorado riding 13-game home winning streak

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / Columnist

No. 2 Golden Knights at No. 1 Avalanche


Best-of-7 series tied, 2-2

The Vegas Golden Knights will try to carry their momentum into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Second Round on Tuesday, and the Colorado Avalanche will try to continue their dominance at home.

The Golden Knights have won two straight games and are outshooting the Avalanche 110-52 since the first period of Game 2.

"Regardless of what's happened the last two games, it's hard to beat anybody three games in a row, never mind the Colorado Avalanche, so we know the task that's in front of us," Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. "We know their home record and how good they've been at the same time. I think we have confidence in our game that it'll translate to the road and that's our plan."

The Avalanche have won 13 straight home games and are 20-0-1 in their past 21 at Ball Arena dating to the regular season, when they tied the Pittsburgh Penguins for the most wins (22) and points (46) on home ice.

"The guys are very excited," Avalanche forward Tyson Jost said. "We know what's at stake here. It's do or die and now we're back in front of our home fans, so that's exciting. The guys are really energized and ready to come out flying tonight."

Teams that win Game 5 when a best-of-7 series is tied 2-2 are 215-58 (.788) in winning the series.

Here are 3 Keys for Game 5:

1. Keep the pressure on

The Golden Knights have slowed the Avalanche and avoided their power play for the most part by pressuring the puck all over the ice and making them defend as much as possible.

Vegas has had 61.2 percent of the 5-on-5 shot attempts in the past three games.

"If you're going to attack in waves, the line on the ice always sets up the next shift and the success of the line following them," DeBoer said. "When you can get in that four-line rotation of pressure, where the line on the ice is setting the table for the next line coming out, you can get those sustained minutes of pressure that we've done a real good job at, particularly in second periods [with the long line change]."


2. Help the defense

The key to the Avalanche attack is the defensemen moving the puck quickly and hitting the forwards in stride so they can use their speed to their advantage.

But they've struggled with the Golden Knights' pressure, gotten too spread out at times, not hit passes tape to tape at others. The forwards need to come back to help better, and they need to sustain more time in the Vegas zone.

"One of the things is finding some room in the offensive zone to try and get some things going off the cycle," Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. "We haven't been able to find a bunch of space down there, so we've looked at some things and given our guys some ideas and some recommendations and we'll see how we implement it tonight."


3. Get the puck on net

When the Avalanche have had the puck in the offensive zone the past three games, they haven't done enough with it. They've had 65 shot attempts blocked and missed the net 31 times.

Bednar essentially said they have been too fancy, taking a split-second too long and allowing the Golden Knights to get in shooting lanes, trying to pick corners instead of generating rebounds.

Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been prone to rebounds. 

"It doesn't have to be a shot that goes in, but a playable puck to the net, I think, can help you create some chaos and some attack points on the ice," Bednar said. "I feel like right now we're just a little bit out of sync."


Golden Knights projected lineup

Max Pacioretty -- Chandler Stephenson -- Mark Stone

Jonathan Marchessault -- William Karlsson -- Reilly Smith

Mattias Janmark -- Nicolas Roy -- Alex Tuch

William Carrier -- Patrick Brown -- Keegan Kolesar

Alec Martinez -- Alex Pietrangelo

Brayden McNabb -- Shea Theodore

Nick Holden -- Zach Whitecloud

Marc-Andre Fleury

Logan Thompson

Scratched: Carl DahlstromJack DuganCody GlassNicolas Hague, Kaedan KorczakRyan ReavesJonas RondbjergJimmy SchuldtDylan Sikura

Injured: Peyton Krebs (jaw), Robin Lehner (undisclosed), Tomas Nosek (undisclosed)

Avalanche projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Gabriel Landeskog -- J.T. Compher -- Valeri Nichushkin

Logan O'Connor -- Tyson Jost -- Andre Burakovsky

Alex Newhook -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Joonas Donskoi

Devon Toews -- Cale Makar

Ryan Graves -- Samuel Girard

Patrik Nemeth -- Conor Timmins

Philipp Grubauer

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: Bowen Byram, Jonas Johansson, Jacob MacDonald, Jayson Megna, Liam O'Brien, Sampo Ranta, Dan Renouf, Kiefer Sherwood, Carl Soderberg

Injured: Matt Calvert (upper body)

Suspended: Nazem Kadri


Status report

Janmark is playing for the first time since he was injured on a hit by Graves in Game 1. ... Kadri's appeal of his eight-game suspension from the NHL Department of Player Safety was denied in a binding ruling by an independent arbitrator. The forward will serve the remainder of his suspension during Games 5 and 6, and he will be eligible to play Game 7, if necessary. ... O'Connor is playing for the first time since March 31. staff writer Jon Lane and independent correspondents Danny Webster and Rick Sadowski contributed to this report

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