The 2022 NHL playoffs are upon us, with eleven teams remaining that are all fighting for their chance to lift the Stanley Cup. As it stands, the Colorado Avalanche are through to the next round after winning their opening round 4-0 against the Nashville Predators. The clean sweep showed just how good Colorado is right now, and the other teams in the playoffs will certainly be hoping to avoid them in the next rounds.
Experts are tipping Colorado to go all the way, and they’re currently favorites to win. In fact, the Avalanche have been favorites throughout most of the season, and their dominant performance against the Predators has only shortened their odds. Betway lists the Avalanche at +25 to win the Stanley Cup. Most people are expecting them to continue their great form, but can they be stopped?
Colorado Avalanche Strengths
Colorado is the favorite to win the 2022 Stanley Cup playoff for a reason. They have one of the strongest offensive lines in the competition, and not only that, but they have plenty of depth. Last season, the Avalanche looked good, but a lack of depth hindered them and they lost to the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the second round. Two key players for the Avalanche in Erik Johnson and Bo Byrom, missed the playoffs last season due to injuries. This season they’re fit and healthy, while also supported by greater depth.
Aside from their offense and depth, the Avalanche has an excellent defense capable of shutting out the best players. Leading the defense is Cale Markar, whose impressive displays in the first round helped his team secure the sweep. His teammates have had a lot to say about him, describing the twenty-three year old as the best player in the league right now. While he’s a defenseman, Makar chipped in with ten points over four games, the record for a defenseman over four games in the postseason.
Colorado Avalanche Weaknesses
While there’s no denying that the Avalanche are a strong side, there are still plenty of weaknesses to address. To begin with, the team currently shows a weakness in the face-off circle, only winning around 47% of their face-offs. That puts them as the 27th ranked team in the league and is definitely something that needs to be addressed as failing to control the puck in face-offs can result in chances for the opposition.
The other major weakness that is present in this Colorado side is their penalty kill stats. While this stat has improved from last season, the Avalanche had a PK rate of 73% from the start of the current season through to January. Teams that have high PK stats tend to have much more success, especially when facing stronger teams.
Which Team Has a Chance to Beat the Avalanche?
So the Avalanche are clear favorites to lift the Stanley Cup this season, but they’re certainly not unbeatable. There are lots of great teams still remaining in the playoffs, and anything can happen. The Panthers were second-favorites, but Colorado made short work of them. The Calgary Flames are the next favorites and are currently leading their first-round series against the Dallas Stars.
The Flames have Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, who have both had 100-point seasons in the regular season. On top of that, Jacob Markstrom has looked outstanding in goal. With nine shutouts and a .9222 save percentage, he concluded the season with a 35-17-9 record in net for the Flames. They have a chance to make a deep postseason run if these players continue to impress.