Game centers

Key 3: Avalanche at the Oilers, Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals

Avalanche (1C) at Oilers (2P)

8 p.m. ET; DTT, CBC, SN, TVAS

Colorado leads best-of-7 series 3-0

The Colorado Avalanche can advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2001 with a win over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final at Rogers Place on Monday.

“It’s definitely a mentality you have to have to try to wrap up a series,” said Avalanche defenseman Jack Johnson said. “It’s always the hardest to win. Every series takes on its own life. It’s a different challenge every series. We just try to stay focused and keep playing the same way and try to improve. every game and every night because it’s going to get harder every night.”

[RELATED: Complete Avalanche vs. Oilers series coverage]

Colorado swept the Nashville Predators in the first round, winning 5-3 in Game 4. With a chance to eliminate the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of the second round, the Avalanche lost 5-4 in overtime before winning 3-2 in Game 6.

The Oilers are eliminated for the third time in the playoffs. They won games 6 and 7 in the first round against the Los Angeles Kings.

Edmonton will play without Evander Kane. The forward was suspended for one game by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for boarding the Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri 1:06 in game 3.

Kadri is out for the series with an upper body injury. Kane leads the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 13 goals in 15 games.

“We’ve done it all season; it’s the next-man mentality,” Oilers forward said Leon Draisaitl said. “We have enough great players on our roster who can fill in and come in with energy and do a great job. I’m not too worried.”

Teams that lead a best-of-seven series 3-0 are 198-4 in NHL history, 2-0 in the 2022 playoffs.

Here are 3 keys for game 4:

1. Tankers Need More Zone Time

Edmonton struggled to build up offensive pressure, which wasn’t a problem earlier in the playoffs. The Oilers are averaging 4.00 goals per game in the playoffs, but have scored two in their last two games, losing Game 2 at Denver 4-0 and Game 3 at Edmonton 4-2.

“We don’t spend as much time in their zone, so you don’t get the puck to the net as often as you want.” forward Zach Hyman said. “They are erupting very quickly at the moment.

“[In Game 3] we were able to stop their breakout better than the previous two, get on the forecheck and be able to hang on to the puck a little longer. For us to be successful, we will have to play this difficult game and give these talented defenders a few minutes. »

2. Avalanche wants the puck to move

One of the advantages of the Avalanche is that they were able to keep the puck and move quickly in all zones.

Hyman pointed out that’s one of the reasons the Oilers struggled so hard to establish a forecheck.

That’s what the Avalanche want to continue to do.

“We have to play with our identity, stay aggressive, assertive and keep attacking as much as possible,” coach Jared Bednar said. “It’s part of who we are and what makes us good.”

3. Rejigging Chemistry

The Avalanche will have several options to take Kadri’s place either Mikko Rantanen Where J.T. Compher pass to the center of the second line. Compher played there in the third match after Kadri’s injury.

Bednar wouldn’t lend a hand.

“Depending on what they do with their lines, we’ll have a few options ready,” Bednar said. “There are certain matchups that I like more than others against some of their talent. We’re going to look at that. We’ve got a bunch of different guys that could go in there and we could structure our roster a number of ways. We may have to -be also change it as the game progresses.”

Planned programming for avalanches

Gabriel LandeskogNathan MacKinnonValery Nichushkin

Arturi Lehkonen — Mikko Rantanen — Andre Burakovsky

Alex Newhook –JT Compher– Nico Sturm

André CoglianoDarren HelmLogan O’Connor

Devon ToewsCale Makar

Jack Johnson– Josh Manson

Bowen ByramErik Johnson

Pavel Francouz

Justus Annunen

Striped: Ryan Murray, Kurtis MacDermid

Injured: Samuel Girard (sternum), Darcy Kuemper (upper body), Nazem Kadri (upper body), Nicolas Aube-Kubel (lower body)

Oilers projected roster

Zack Hyman — Connor McDavidZack Kassian

Ryan Nugent Hopkins — Leon Draisaitl — Josh Archibald

Warren FoegeleRyan McLeodJesse Puljujarvi

Derek RyanDerick Brassard

Nurse DarnellCody Ceci

Duncan KeithEvan Bouchard

Brett KulakTyson Barrie

Kris Russell

mike smith

Mikko Koskinen

Striped: Devin Shore, Olivier Rodrigue

Injured: Kailer Yamamoto (upper body)

Suspended: Evander Kane

Status report

Kuemper took part in morning practice but is not expected to play. The goalie has been out since leaving at 7:19 of the second period of Game 1. … Yamamoto is unavailable, Edmonton coach Jay Woodcroft said. The forward was injured on a hit by Landeskog in the first period of Game 2… The Oilers are expected to play with 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Brassard should play without Yamamoto and Kane.