Avalanche begin Cup defense against playoff newcomer Kraken

Mikko Rantanen has a lot of playoff superstitions.

“But I’m not going to get into it,” Colorado Avalanche Strikers admonition.

You know, because he’s superstitious.Because he didn’t want to play tricks, because they did well last season.

Rantanen and the Avalanche are trying to join the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins as back-to-back Stanley Cup winners in the salary-cap era (circa: 2005).

They are well aware that a long road awaits them. grind. toll fee. The shorter offseason should go well.

Of course it’s worth it.

However, it is not easy, especially Captain Gabriel Landskog A lingering knee injury kept him out all season.

Plus, there’s this: “Goal on your back,” said Rantanen, whose team kicked off their title defense in Tuesday’s first-round series against the second-year franchise. seattle siren“But we feel good. Our energy levels feel good. We’re not tired. We’ve been ready to play for two months. That’s our goal.”

After lifting their third cup title in franchise history last June, the Avalanche’s regular season was plagued by injuries. The team has used 43 different players this season, the most since the team moved to the city before the 1995-96 season.

“Obviously, we’re not the same team (same as last season), but we’re very similar,” said defenseman Josh Manson, who has played in just 27 games this season due to injury. “Will we win games in the same way and style? I don’t know. We’ll see as we go.

“But I don’t think that means we doubt the room just because we’re different than last year. We’re going to have to play our style and be confident.”

The way to lead Colorado’s offense will be a duo Nathan McKinnon (111 points) and Rantanen (105 points). They were the first Avalanche teammates to score more than 100 points in the same season since Peter Forsberg (116) and Joe Sakic (120) in 1995-96.

“With Landy gone, we have to work harder,” said Rantanen, who has scored an Avalanche-best 55 goals this season.

Colorado attracted a Kraken team that has made huge strides this season. They added 19 wins and 40 points in Year 2.

“We’re not going to change a lot,” Seattle coach Dave Hackstall said. “We have to be our best selves.”

This may be Kraken’s first playoff appearance, but they do have a ton of playoff experience on their roster. Yanni Gourde, Justin Schultz, Vince Dunn and Jaden Schwartz won the Stanley Cup.goalkeeper Philip Grubauer And Martin Jones. Jordan Eberle has played in 62 playoff games in his career.

“Short-term memory,” Dunn said of what he’s learned from playing successful playoff hockey. “If you have a (bad) shift, forget about it and move on and find a way to fix it. Don’t hit a home run every shift. Take your time and trust the system.”

It’s not often that a team takes on the defending Stanley Cup champions in the playoffs for the first time. For the fifth time in league history, the Krakens join Columbus (vs. Detroit in 2009), Washington (vs. New York Islanders in 1983), Hartford (vs. Montreal in 1980) and New York Yankees (vs. New York Rangers in 1929), according to NHL statistics.

On Saturday, Kraken will host their first playoff game. But Seattle was once home to the Seattle Mets of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. The team played against the Montreal Canadiens in the 1919 Stanley Cup. In a series that was suspended due to the pandemic, both won two and tied the other, according to NHL research.

While Seattle and Colorado don’t start hostilities until Tuesday, there are four other series going on tonight.

Boston Bruins vs. Florida Panthers

Alex Lyons started the season in the National Hockey League. He actually didn’t even qualify there for the first two games of the season, as he had to be suspended first for over-celebrating the championship in the minors last year.

Now he might be the goaltender the Florida Panthers will bet on to start the Stanley Cup playoffs — against a team that just had the best regular season in NHL history, no less.

Lyons — as might be expected — were announced as Florida State’s starting goaltender for Game 1 of Monday night’s Eastern Conference first-round series against the Boston Bruins. This will be Lyon’s debut in the NHL playoffs.

The Bruins went an unheard-of 65-12-5 in the regular season and won their final eight games even without any games to play, now wait.

Edmonton Oilers vs Los Angeles Kings

Leon Draisaitl was a prolific playoff playmaker for the Edmonton Oilers, even with a sprained ankle less than a year ago.

If the big center can stay healthy for the 2023 NHL playoffs, the No. 2 in Edmonton’s powerful one-two punch could pack an even bigger punch.

During the regular season, Oilers captain Conor McDavid and Dressier scored a staggering 116 goals for a combined 281 points, including 53 power-play goals.

It’s a tall order for opposing teams to contain one, let alone two. Still, Los Angeles star defenseman Drew Doughty couldn’t help but focus on McDavid, who just came off his best individual NHL season in years.

“I love this moment. I love a challenge,” Doughty said. “Everyone knows how good he is and how hard he is to shut down.

Dallas Stars vs. Minnesota Wild

Dallas Stars forward Jason Robertson was quick to point out that while he finished second to Minnesota’s Kirill Kaprizov in the Calder Trophy, the vote to determine the NHL’s Rookie of the Year two years ago wasn’t even close. Not a close vote.

Kaprizov and Robertson, who received 99 of the 100 first-place votes that year, are now the scoring leaders of their respective teams. They meet in the first round of the NHL playoffs, with Central Division rivals the Stars and Wild starting their best-of-seven series on Monday night.

“He’s an amazing player,” Kaprizov said of Robertson, the 23-year-old who became Dallas’ first 100-point scorer this season (46 goals, 63 assists). “He got his chance from nothing.”

Either Dallas entered the playoffs with a six-game winning streak or Minnesota came out of the first round of the playoffs last year. Robertson has scored just one goal in seven games against Calgary. Kaprizov, who would have turned 26 in this series if more than five games in, scored seven goals in six losses to St. Louis. It was the Wild’s sixth straight loss in the first round.

Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Islanders

For the Carolina Hurricanes heading into the Stanley Cup playoffs, the challenges are familiar.

They have established themselves as a perennial playoff team, a team that has won three straight division titles. But they again struggled to turn a strong regular-season run into the deep playoff push they’ve failed to achieve of late, starting with a first-round series against the New York Islanders.

“We don’t want to just make it through the first round or the second round, or just have a little bit of success,” Carolina forward Seth Jarvis said. “We want to win the whole game. I think that’s the mentality of everybody on this team, we have a team to go deep, a team that wants to make some noise.”

The Islanders are back in the playoffs after a year-long absence. They have won three of their past four games, earning the wild-card top spot in a tight race in the final week of the season.

Joining Avalanche/Kraken for kickoff tomorrow are the Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets, the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, and the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning.

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