2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview: Colorado Avalanche vs. Seattle Kraken
This is a playoff match that can only be described as several years ahead of schedule.
In one corner, the defending Stanley Cup champions, a Colorado Avalanche team headlined by elite talents like Nate MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Cale Makar, and Devon Toews who we saw cut through the Western Conference and the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning like a buzzsaw just a year ago. Injuries and departures have taken a toll, but is this group so strong that they can ride some late-season momentum to another Cup?
In the other corner, the Seattle Kraken sprung back from their humiliating inaugural season to crack 100 points in the standings – no small feat. With presumptive rookie of the year Matty Beniers coming along ahead of schedule, they'll hope that their unbelievable shooting and scoring efficiency isn't just an illusion.
My playoff previews are stats-based, going off of both macro- and micro-level statistics gathered by TopDownHockey and AllThreeZones respectively. This allows us to look not only at high-level results (like goals, shots, and expected goals) but also the stylistic process that creates them (like passes, shot types, and transition play) to get a better sense of how the teams match up. Instead of comparing offence to offence and defence to defence, I'll be breaking down the offence vs. defence matchups.
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