Avalanche coach Jared Bednar
has been cleared to coach after he had an irregularity in his COVID-19 test result and didn’t run the morning skate Thursday. He will be on the bench for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup second-round series with Vegas at T-Mobile Arena.
Here are the GAME NOTES.
It’s an elimination game for the Avalanche, who blew a 2-0 third-period lead in a 3-2 overtime loss Tuesday and trail 3-2 in the best-of-7 series.
They’ve lost three straight games after taking a 2-0 series lead and lost the two previous games in Las Vegas.
“We took to the rink, we got prepared for practice,” Devon Toews
said. “There’s nothing to it, guys, from that standpoint. We come to the rink, we prepare for the game tonight. If we have Jared, we have Jared. If we don’t, we’ll prepare for that as well. We’re ready to go as a group, we’re ready and we’re excited for the challenge.”
The schedule, all times MT
Game 1 --– Avalanche 7-1
Game 2 -- Avalanche 3-2 (OT)
Game 3 -- Vegas 3-2
Game 4 – Vegas 5-1
Game 5 – Vegas 3-2 (OT)
Game 6 Thursday -- at Vegas, 7 p.m.
*Game 7 Saturday -- at Avalanche, 5:30 p.m.
* If necessary
Toews said the morning skate was the same as usual, even without Bednar.
We have a pretty good routine on game day with our skates, so there’s not much need for coaches to go on there,” he said. “We kind of know our routine and what we’re doing out there, so it was pretty much business as usual.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to win in this building. We were here for two games before and couldn’t get the job done in either of those games. It’s a good opportunity for our group to show up and we feel we’re turning in the right direction. We haven’t played our best yet either, so we’re ready for that.”
Center Nathan MacKinnon
was named a finalist for the Hart Trophy as Most Valuable Player in the regular season for the third time in four years on Thursday.
MacKinnon has 13 points (eight goals, five assists) in nine playoff games, but he’s gone three games without a point.
“I think he's putting a little too much pressure on himself here,” Bednar said Wednesday. “He's a little antsy with the puck. But I liked his game (Tuesday). He was committed to the checking part of it. He had some real good looks, a couple were blocked … he is ready. He's going to break out next game."
The Avalanche will need him to do so to keep the season going.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews
and Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid
are the other finalists.
MacKinnon had 65 points (20 goals, 45 assists) in 48 games, missing eight because of injuries. He led the league with a career-high 1.35 points per game to help the Avalanche win the Presidents’ Trophy for the league’s best record for the first time since 2000-01.
He would join Joe Sakic
(2000-01) and Peter Forsberg
(2002-03) as the third player to win the trophy in franchise history.
Matthews had 66 points (41 goals, 25 assists) in 52 games. McDavid led the league with 105 points (33 goals, 72 assists) in 56 games.
Brandon Saad -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen
Gabriel Landeskog -- J.T. Compher -- Valeri Nichushkin
Andre Burakovsky -- Tyson Jost -- Logan O’Connor
Alex Newhook -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Joonas Donskoi
Devon Toews -- Cale Makar
Ryan Graves -- Samuel Girard
Patrik Nemeth -- Conor Timmins