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5 o’clock showdown: Avalanche plan big team meeting tonight in Vegas



LAS VEGAS – Five o’clock sharp. Don’t be late. Don’t be showing up to the meeting with any margaritas or bloody maries in the system either.

It’s going to be a tough Avalanche team meeting planned at 5 local time here tonight. Coach Jared Bednar has issued a mandatory team meeting at that time, where he gave a preview of what will be on the agenda for his players:

“The message is going to be that there is no easy ice out there, that you’re going to have to earn every inch out there,” Bednar told media this morning from T-Mobile Arena, where the Avs held an optional practice in which about 15 players skated under the tutelage of skills coach Shawn Allard.

Bednar and his two assistant coaches, Nolan Pratt and Ray Bennett, will spend the afternoon poring over video from last night’s Game 3 debacle in which, while the final score (3-2) was close, not much else was about the game. If the Avs had lost the game, where Marc-Andre Fleury had to steal it or the Avs had plenty of good scoring chances, Bednar and the rest of Avalanche Nation probably wouldn’t have this serious a case of concern about what’s going on with the team.

But the fact is, the Avs have been outshot 83-45 the last two games by Vegas and the Golden Knights are seemingly dictating all of the play right now. The Avs outshot opponents most every game in the regular season, almost always having a solid edge in puck-possession time. Right now, it’s the reverse, which is why Bednar is sounding 10-bell alarms.

“Desperation and tenacity on the puck and that’s where we have to get to as a group,” Bednar said. “We’ll make sure we make adjustments and communicate that to our players at our meeting at 5 o’clock tonight”

Avs captain Gabe Landeskog, who had an assist in Game 3 but no shots on net, acknowledged both concern and optimism over where things stand.

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“We’re still up 2-1 in the series,” he said. “We’re confident we can make some adjustments. But it’s the playoffs and we need to step up, and leadership really needs to step up.”

As I said last night, I think the Avs should and will go to more of a muck-it-up, neutral-zone trap system that Vegas has used effectively the last two games. The Avs have to try to chop the ice up more into thirds and fight for every inch of every zone, but especially in the middle third of the ice. Landeskog admitted that his team “made it too easy” for Vegas to skate through the neutral zone the last two contests.

Does this mean the Avs will have to play more of “Vegas’ game” moving forward? Maybe. The Avs can’t have a regular-season mentality in which they think it’s going to be fun and freewheeling out there. The playoffs are all about a pure fight, for every inch of that ice and every possession of that puck.

They have to be tougher, mentally and physically. Vegas is full of big guys who play the game hard, and that translates better to the playoffs than regular season. The Avs may not be as big as Vegas, but they can still play tougher against them. They have to skate like they’ve never skated before, have to want this as much as anything they’ve ever wanted in their lives.

If not, it’ll be another soul-crushing, second-round exit for a third year in a row.

NOTEBOOK: Bednar said “there’s no question we miss Naz” when asked about the ongoing absence of Nazem Kadri, who has served five of eight games of his suspension. His second appeal remains in the hands of neutral discipline arbitrator, Shyam Das. I think we’ll get a ruling by Monday morning at the latest. … Kadri could play Game 7 of this series, regardless, if it goes that far.

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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I thought your line about the Avs playing with a bit of a “regular season” mentality was spot on. It almost looked as if the Avs were content managing the game from the rear, i.e. letting Vegas have such an edge in possession and shot – mind you from their perspective, they actually produced fairly little with that advantage. It’s almost as if the Avs were a bit overconfident that they could make the timely plays when needed (as they did in Game 2 and as they even did last night for a while). On a separate note, I am… Read more »

Matt Briggle

Totally agree with you on the game there. As for the optional practices at this point in the season most of the regulars will skip those in favor of getting treatments on those little dings they all have now along with a massage and stretching to help prevent any new injuries. They might throw in a light workout and a ride on the stationary bike to get the legs working a bit and the heartrate up. It’s all about rest and recovery along with making sure you’re hydrated and eating well so that you go into each game time feeling… Read more »

Jared Moss

Why the **** does it take till Monday to have a result on Kadri! Reduce it to 5 games and give us back Kadri for game 4!!!!!

sarasota curt

Isn’t it Bloody Marys?


I know it’s a phase that is used too often but tomorrow is truly a statement game for this team. They need to win tomorrow and close this series out at home in game five to prove that they are legit. Otherwise this team is just another talented team with unfulfilled potential. No more lessons to be learned at this point after two straight round two game seven losses.

[…] Colorado: Vegas has boat raced the Avalanche in the last two games. They’ve been outshot 74-32 in the last five regulation periods but managed to win Game 2. They had a lead in Game 3, too. But something has to change, or they are in deeeeeepppp trouble.  […]

[…] Click here to view the original article. […]

[…] Colorado: Vegas has boat raced the Avalanche in the last two games. They’ve been outshot 74-32 in the last five regulation periods but managed to win Game 2. They had a lead in Game 3, too. But something has to change, or they are in deeeeeepppp trouble.  […]

[…] The Avalanche made sure that’s not the case in a closed-door meeting Saturday. (Colorado Hockey Now) […]

[…] Makar (B) – One of the messages preached during the Avs come-to-Jesus team meeting after getting thoroughly out-worked by Vegas in Game 3 was for the D to help out their offense […]

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