Depth got Avalanche over second-round hump vs. Blues, and could play even bigger role vs. Edmonton: “If we’re going to win, we need everybody.”

The matchup between superstars Nathan MacKinnon and Connor McDavid is sure to get plenty of attention over the next two weeks during the Western Conference Finals.

But it might just be the Avs’ not-so-secret weapon that ultimately tells the tale: Deep, deep depth.

Like the kind that was on display in the Avalanche’s series-clinching 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Friday night at the Enterprise Center — one that ended a 20-year conference finals drought for the franchise.

Bottom-six centers J.T. Compher and Darren Helm combined 20:42 of ice time and all three goals in Colorado’s elimination of St. Louis, proving the Avs can win when their stars aren’t shining.

Top-six winger Mikko Rantanen (20:53 ice time), second-line center Nazem Kadri (19:58) and winger Gabe Landeskog (19:56) combined for 13 shots but didn’t produce a point Friday night.

Having the depth Colorado has displayed thus far during the postseason is a recipe for success in a seven-game series.

“If we’re going to win, we need everybody,” MacKinnon said after getting Colorado past the second round for the first time in four tries. “I know it’s a cliché but you look at any team that wins, everybody’s chipping in, and that’s kind of been our team.”

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar and his staff aren’t afraid to play depth forwards and defensemen at critical times. Shutdown defenseman Josh Manson had never scored a postseason goal until he won Game 1…

Click here to read the full article at Denver Post >

Feedback