DENVER – If it is true that everything comes at the right time for those who know how to wait, the Colorado Avalanche will start the Stanley Cup final against the Tampa Bay Lightning on the right foot.
After an eight-day hiatus after the Edmonton Oilers’ victory in the Western Final, the fifth longest in playoff history, Nathan MacKinnon and his teammates are eager to prove that they can not only compete with the Lightning, but deprive them of a third. consecutive conquest.
“We have been preparing our team for this final since the first day of retreat last autumn. Now is the time to get out on the track, take on what lies ahead with confidence, savor the moment and prove that we are the best team in the league, “said coach Jared Bednar after morning training at Avalanche on Wednesday.
Bednar is not afraid of the repercussions of the eight-day hiatus. A similar pause slowed the Lightning, however, as they were downgraded by the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Finals after a sweep by the mighty Florida Panthers. The Lightning lost their first two games and were down 2-0 in Game 3 before overturning the game and streak which they then won in six games.
“We are in a great position,” Jared Bednar replied when reporters insisted on the potentially negative consequences of the breakup.
“We are in the same situation we were in after our four-game win over Nashville in the first round. We gave the players the rest they needed and then maintained the level of training that allowed us to start the second round against St. Louis well. We are very aware of the challenge that awaits us. We know this team is in their third consecutive Grand Finals appearance. They have talent, experience, depth, they know how to win. But we are ready “, added the head coach of the” AVS “.
After a seven-day hiatus between round one and round two, the Avalanche beat the Blues 3-2 in Game 1 en route to a six-game victory over St. Louis.
Darcy Kuemper showed up on the net for the starting goalkeeper this morning at the Ball Arena. This routine followed by his retirement in the locker room in front of his assistant Pavel Francouz, who came to prominence in the Western final, suggests he will make a comeback on Wednesday in the case of the first game.
A possibility that Jared Bednar, however, refused to confirm.
Nazem Kadri and Andrew Cogliano, on the other hand, did not accompany their teammates for morning training. They skated before practice and they won’t play tonight.
“All I will say in their case is that they are subject to daily evaluations,” Bednar said.
Wounded in the hand, Kadri struggles to hold his staff. However, he is acquired in the Avalanche entourage who will do everything to get back into the game during the final.
He indicates his place
In the Lightning field, Jon Cooper and his players can count on Brayden Point’s return to practice.
Scorer of the winning goal – scored in extra time – that allowed the Lightning to equalize the series (3-3) against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, Point was injured – lower body – from the start of the decisive match . He hasn’t played since.
His return will give Jon Cooper more attitude to renew his lines and complicate the work of his face-to-face Jared Bednar.
“We juggled our lines during the playoffs and won’t hesitate to do it again even if Point is back,” Cooper said.
“He is one of our best players. He will give a new dimension to our club, but we are particularly happy that he is back on the pitch. He didn’t have to come back too fast and we want him to be in great shape, ”said Pierre-Édouard Bellemare.
“Even during his absence he was very present around the team. His return is great news for us, “added Zach Bogosian.
In the avalanche camp, Jared Bednar will regulate the use of Nathan MacKinnon based on what the lightning offers. In the Western Final, we saw MacKinnon take on Connor McDavid in a clash of the titans that the Avalanche star won.
“I can use Nate under any circumstances. He could face their big line or face the more defensive line – pivoted by Anthony Cirelli – depending on how the game or series goes, ”concluded the Avalanche head coach.
It starts at 8pm on Wednesday. In the end!