Golden Knights vs. Avalanche Stanley Cup Playoffs Game 2 Preview

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Golden Knights vs. Avalanche Stanley Cup Playoffs Game 2 Preview
Goalie Philipp Grubauer #31 of Colorado Avalanche saves a shot. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

The Golden Knights are hoping to avenge their humiliating loss on Sunday night and will return to the scene of the crime for a Game 2 showdown with the Avalanche. Let’s analyze this Wednesday night matchup and keep cashing our NHL picks!

Vegas Golden Knights vs Colorado Avalanche

Wednesday, June 02, 2021 – 10:00 PM EDT at Ball Arena

If you were among those who were more than a bit surprised that the NHL odds at all of the top online sportsbooks were dealing the Avalanche as high as -180 home chalk in the opener of their second-round series with the Knights, then be shocked no more.

It was clear from the onset of Sunday night’s game that Vegas looked like a team that had recently survived a seven-game death struggle while the Avs were as cool as the other side of the pillow after finishing the Blues in a four-game sweep. Colorado got plenty of time to rest their weary legs in anticipation of this second-round joust with the battle-worn Knights.

Colorado had built in an insurmountable 5-0 lead before William Karlsson lit the lamp midway through the second period to score the first and only goal of the evening for Vegas. It was complete and total domination from the get-go as the Avalanche connected on two of six power-play opportunities and outshot the Knights, 37-25. Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon tallied twice while Mikko Rantanen, Brandon Saad, and Cale Makar also buried the biscuit resulting in a 7-1 Colorado blowout.

Bad Blood

The Avs were schooling the Golden Knights in Game 1 and it didn’t end without several skirmishes breaking out due to nothing else but sheer frustration. Blood was spilled over the 74 penalty minutes assessed which included four 10-minute misconduct infractions, all called in the final frame when the game was clearly out of hand.

Patrick Brown #38 and Ryan Reaves #75 of the Vegas Golden Knights warm up b. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

But it was Vegas’ Ryan Reaves who received the most attention after he was assessed a match penalty on an intent to injure call that was made when he walloped Colorado’s, Ryan Graves. He was subsequently suspended for two games but before the punishment was issued his head coach, Peter DeBoer, had this to say, “For me, Ryan is one of the cleanest tough guys I’ve seen in the league in my 12, 13 years. He’s consistently a clean, physical player.”

However, that sentiment wasn’t shared by Avs’ coach, Jared Bednar, “Graves is down in a vulnerable position, and he just stays on top of him and obviously hits him. So I didn’t like the play. But [DeBoer] knows his player. I guess I don’t think that [Reaves] is out there trying to injure people on purpose. He’s just got a ruggedness to his game.

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“In that situation in the game, I just didn’t like it that much.” Before his crushing hit on Ryan Graves, it was Graves who took aim at Vegas’ forward Mattias Janmark in the second period and leveled a chest-high hit that sent Janmark to the trainer’s table for the rest of the game.

Wanna Make a Bet?

The square money will be pouring in on top betting sites on the Avs after they annihilated the Golden Knights in Game 1 but we often wince when our opinion aligns with Joe Q. Public, right? After all, these teams battled to a 4-4 regular season series split and now we are supposed to lay some serious lumber just because the home team beat up the visitors on a given night?

Well, consider that the Knights will be missing their resident enforcer, Ryan Reaves, while their leading playoff scorer, Mattias Janmark, could be on the shelf as well. Even if Janmark does return, how fit will he really be once he takes the ice?

Philipp Grubauer #31 of the Colorado Avalanche blocks a shot. Tom Pennington/Getty Images/AFP

Let’s also understand that the Avs are on an absolute tear, having won 13 of their last 14 regular and postseason games combined. And while the Knights will undoubtedly have a rested Marc-Andre Fleury patrolling the crease after getting Game 1 off, the guy on the other side of the ice, Philipp Grubauer, is also a Vezina finalist.

The tone has been set and the Avs are simply the most dominant team in hockey right now, let alone in this series.

Free NHL Pick: Avalanche -180 at Intertops (visit our Intertops Review)

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*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.