Sunday October 1, 2023

Avalanche’s Unsung Defense Makes Them Unstoppable

  • Colorado holds a 2-0 lead over the Oilers in the Western Conference Finals.
  • The Avs rank third in the postseason in goals-against per game (2.75).
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Donovan McNabb and the State of Football

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September 29, 2023 | Podcast
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After Game 1’s historical goalfest, the Avalanche dominated on the other side of the puck to take a 2-0 series advantage over the Oilers in the Western Conference Finals.

On Thursday, the Avalanche blanked the Oilers 4-0 behind backup goaltender Pavel Francouz, who made 24 saves for his second shutout this postseason while filling in for the injured Darcy Kuemper. 

While Francouz was stellar — already justifying the two-year, $4 million extension he signed in March — the defensive support from Cale Makar, Devon Toews, Bowen Byram, and Erik Johnson could make the Avs unbeatable in search of their first Stanley Cup since 2001.

  • They held Oilers stars and postseason scoring leaders Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid to a combined five shots on goal in Game 2.
  • The Oilers were outshot 26-11 over the last two periods and limited to seven high-danger chances overall.
  • Colorado tops the postseason in goals-for (4.58) but is also third in goals-against (2.75).

Kuemper’s status for Game 3 in Edmonton (8 p.m. ET, TNT) remains unknown, but the Avs are clicking even without him. 

Plus, they have history on their side: Teams with a 2-0 series advantage in the Conference Finals are 91-7 all-time.

Colorado is now -900 to win the series and has the best odds (-155) to lift the Cup.

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