The Arizona Coyotes were the underdogs going into their series against the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado is an excellent team, one that is a favorite to win the Stanley Cup this year. Arizona looked good in their play-in series against the Nashville Predators, but the skill gap is real.
While few people expected the Coyotes to get the series few people would have expected the lackluster performance they delivered on Monday.
The Coyotes came into the game with some momentum. Their play in Game 2 earned them praise, and it was an extremely lucky bounce that gave Colorado the win. Game 3 wasn’t their best, but they came out of it with a win. If ever the Coyotes were going to come into the series with some swagger Game 4 felt like the perfect opportunity.
But it was not to be. The Coyotes looked disengaged from start to finish with only brief moments where they were in any way competitive. It was a total defeat in almost every way.
With a little help from sloppy defense, it seems like the Avalanche were finally able to figure out Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper. Kuemper allowed four goals in the first two periods, with two of those goals coming on the power play.
Unsurprisingly, the Coyotes didn’t fare much better with Antti Raanta in net. Tocchet put Raanta in for the third period, and the pace was established when Cale Makar scored 19 seconds into the third.
Mercifully, the game eventually ended with Colorado winning 7-1.
The Coyotes lone goal came from Jakob Chychrun on the power play, the Coyotes first power play goal of the series. Normally that would be a cause for celebration, but in a terrible game, the goal just put into context how bad Coyotes have been with the man advantage for the entire series.
But as bad as Monday was, things aren’t over until they are over. Arizona has been extremely inconsistent throughout the series, but there are times when they looked like they could make things interesting. But given they are now down 3-1 in the series there is no room for error.
Players to watch
Arizona: Everyone. Everyone on the team should be giving this game everything they have. If they lose today they go home so they shouldn’t leave anything in the tank. Today we see who the team can lean on in the hard times.
Colorado: Nazim Kadri - Kadri had two goals and an assist on Monday and has five points on the series. It is only the first round but he is already having a stellar playoffs.
Arizona: Conor Garland (doubtful, lower body), Nick Schmaltz (questionable, neck)
Colorado: Andre Burakovsky (probable, foot), Vladislav Namestnikov (questionable, concussion)
Today’s game is at 2:30 pm Arizona time and will air on Fox Sports Arizona, Altitude Sports, and the NHL network with the radio broadcast on Fox Sports 910 AM.