They say speed kills. While I’ve yet to really figure out who “they” are (aliens perhaps?), the bottom line is that is a true statement.
Sure, it’s normally a PSA statement about driving your car too fast, but it applies to sports too. You can’t teach a player or team to be faster, so it’s hard to defend when your opponent is definitely faster than you are.
Even with the addition of younger players like Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou, both of whom have top speed and elite skating ability, the Blues are much slower than Colorado as a team. And, while Colorado is just faster as a team, their top players are so much faster.
By himself, Nathan MacKinnon could beat just about anyone on the Blues in a foot race. Beyond just the top speed, like a high-performance sports car, MacKinnon finds that speed from a stand still.
The guy can be at a slow glide and then two strides later, he’s five steps past you. While the Blues are a defensively sound team, if the Avalanche get space and time, there’s little the Blues can do to combat something like that.
The key for the Blues defenders, whether forwards or defensemen, will be to slow down the Avs before they can get going. You’ve got to find a way to disrupt passing lanes and keep the Avalanche to the perimeter.
Do that and you negate some of their innate abilities. Fail to do that and it’s going to be a mess.