The Seattle Kraken and Colorado Avalanche will face off later this evening in Game 4 of their first-round series.
For Seattle, this is a critical game in the series because if they lose, they will be down three games to one. While for Colorado, if they are able to pick up this win, they will take a very commanding lead in the series and feel very comfortable heading back home for game five.
With all that being said, let’s look at three things to look for ahead of Game 4.
1. The Kraken must play a complete game
The only way for Seattle to win this series is to play a complete team game. The style from Game 1 must return for them to do that.
The Kraken are looking to avoid going down 3-1 in the series at home.
I’ve said this in almost every preview, and I will continue to hammer this point home: the Kraken cannot beat Colorado purely with skill, as Colorado has the advantage across the board.
If Seattle wants to get out of this first round and win the Stanley Cup, they are going to have to play as a complete team and roll four lines out constantly to wear the opponent down.
The 2019 St. Louis Blues played this type of style to win the Stanley Cup, and while it demands a lot physically, it’s something Seattle is going to have to do. In games two and three, they haven’t done that, especially against Colorado’s superstars.
Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen combined for four goals and five points in game three alone.
2. Look for a more complete defensive effort from both sides.
I critiqued Seattle’s defensive game in point one, but I’m not sitting here saying Colorado played a perfect defensive game either in Game 3.
Colorado let Seattle back into the game after being up 3-1, with some questionable play on that side. Colorado luckily had their best players play their best game of the series, so it bailed them out.
Just because Seattle doesn’t have a bonified superstar on their roster doesn’t mean they can’t score, so the Avs need to make sure not to take their foot off the gas.
3. This is a must-win game for both teams but in different ways.
This Game 4 is going to decide the trajectory of this series. If Colorado wins this game, I hate to say it’s over for Seattle because anything is possible, but I just can’t see a scenario where they’d win three in a row down 3-1 with this type of skill gap.
However, if Seattle wins this game, it’s going to give the Avalanche a lot more trouble than you’d think. Colorado would hate to have this series tied and know they lost a golden chance to be in the driver’s seat in this series.
Momentum in hockey has a stronger effect on a team than in any other sport, so look for Colorado to play desperate to avoid that.