Three keys for Colorado – The Denver Post

The Avalanche hosts the Vegas Golden Knights for Game 1 of a second-round West Division series Sunday.

Three keys for the Avs

1) Maintain home-ice edge. Colorado is 2-0 at Ball Arena this postseason and 18-0-1 in its last 19 games overall. The Avs finished 22-4-2 at home (.821) in the regular season, and their .821 home points percentage was the club’s highest ever. Colorado outscored its opponents 110-54 on home ice and if that dominance continues the Knights will be in trouble, with four of the potential seven games in Denver.

2) Score first, play fast. Colorado scored first in the first three games in St. Louis to take a dominating 3-0 series lead into Game 4. The Avs, like most teams, play better with the lead, and that will be crucial against Vegas. Both teams like to play a north-south game at a sizzling pace, but Colorado might have more ability to do so rolling four lines. The quicker the pace, the better chance for the Avs.

3) Don’t be intimidated. Vegas has fourth-line options and they’re all big and intimidating players who can spark the team with heavy hits. It starts with winger Ryan Reaves, 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, and arguably the toughest man in the game. William Carrier, 6-2, 218 pounds, was the other fourth-line winger in Game 7 against Minnesota. The center was Patrick Brown, 6-1, 210, but Keegan Kolesar, 6-2, 217, is typically in the mix. The Avs can play a physical game but they’re better off using their speed to avoid the grind.