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It was an odd set for the first leg of that big playoff series — it may have been the greatest set in playoff history.
A season-high seven teams took the ice for Game Four of the Western Conference Final on Tuesday with a host of new additions to the conference. The Coyotes’ star-studded lineup included Patrick Marleau, Dustin Penner and Jannik Hansen, all of whom had never played together. The Colorado Avalanche’s top line of Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog and Mike Condon and Nathan MacKinnon had never connected.
The NHL announced the full roster for the first round of playoffs Wednesday morning. Here’s what you need to know.
Who did you get right?
That’s the real question here.
Yes, I picked up Ryan Johansen, Jamie McGinn and Cody McLeod from the Phoenix Coyotes this offseason. All three could help the Colorado Avalanche, but none of the three have played in the Stanley Cup Final. All three were on the playoff team that fell to Pittsburgh in the second round.
And none of the new players can play in the Cup Finals, either. For now, keep an eye on Cody McLeod, who could make the most out of his chances: He didn’t make the cut in Tampa Bay, so he needs to make the leap to the next level. But he’s made good on that promise on the ice as well.
But the newbies are a big reason why the Colorado Avalanche have been able to be in these playoffs while the other four teams — the Winnipeg Jets, Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues — have been missing from their lineups: the guys who have spent the last three years winning games in the standings while the rest of the league is on a downward spiral.
And that is in large part thanks to Cody McLeod. Last year, McLeod signed a four-year deal with the Avalanche in the offseason, which was a very unusual move among the players who were selected by general manager Joe Sakic at the end of last year’s draft. That didn’t last long, either — after playing a lot of the last two seasons in Phoenix, McLeod went to the Flames’ minors, where he played a lot of games last season.
He’s played most of the previous six seasons in an
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