Nathan MacKinnon, Nazem Kadri and the rest of the exceptionally certain and created Avalanche floated into the second round of the Western Conference playoffs by destroying Arizona 7-1, once more, on Wednesday at Rogers Place. Colorado likewise won 7-1 on Monday in Game 4, arriving at seven goals in continuous playoff games for the first time in team history. The Avs’ 22 goals against Arizona are additionally a club record for a playoff series decided in five games.
“Our time has arrived,” said MacKinnon, who extended his playoff points streak to eight games. “We haven’t won anything but it’s definitely a different feel after winning this series. We’re a hungry group.”
MacKinnon and Kadri, the Avs’ top two centers, each had two goals Wednesday and five different Avs had various points in eliminating the Coyotes in five games. Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper, the Game 3 hero with 49 saves, was pulled following two periods for the second straight game, with Arizona down 6-0.
“We’re a group that really cares about each other,” MacKinnon added. “We really feel we have great chemistry and there’s a good vibe to our team. So it’s great to get these playoffs off on the right foot. We’ve played hard in all five games and we’re ready for whoever we play in the second round.”
No. 2-seeded Colorado, which outscored the Coyotes 22-8 in the series, followed the top-seeded Vegas Golden Knights in becoming the West’s second team to progress.
The Avs will confront Dallas in the conference quarterfinals if the Stars defeat Calgary in Game 6 of that series Thursday. Colorado could likewise conceivably play St. Louis or Vancouver if the Flames rally to down Dallas.
No team is playing as well as the Avalanche, however, which is 6-1-1 overall in these playoffs.
“It’s been unbelievable to watch,” said Avs goalie Philipp Grubauer, who finished 4-0 in the series and had little business at his end of the ice. “First game, second game, you watch those guys compete down at the other end. It’s the way we want to play and it’s been amazing to watch. I think we found our rhythm here and we got to make sure we move forward with the same effort in the next round.”
The Avs scored three times in every one of the initial two periods. Like Game 4, they came out flying and put Arizona behind its. The Coyotes took the game’s initial two penalties and Colorado capitalized on both, with Kadri and defenseman Sam Girard getting pucks past Kuemper on the power play.
Kadri scored on a breakaway late in the period as Colorado had all the momentum after the first period. In the second period, MacKinnon contributed to every one of the three goals, scoring the initial two, the last on the power play.
The Avs presumably would have cleared the series if Kuemper wasn’t so stellar in the Avs’ 51-shot attack in Game 3.
“We stuck to our gameplan. Even though we lost Game 3, we came back at them and just kind of kept playing our game,” said Avs captain Gabe Landeskog, who had two assists Wednesday. “We kept saying early on in the series, ‘We’re going to wear them down.’ That was kind of our gameplan and we stuck to it.”
The Avs are most likely playing with as much certainty as they did through the 70-game regular season. It’s Stanley Cup or forget about it.
“You have to be focused. You have to be dialed-in and you also have to be confident to make plays,” said Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov, who scored the seventh goal in Game 5. “Our group, we’re really confident. We’re really prepared for the playoffs — physically, mentally, both.”