Really, the Avs shouldn’t change a thing from Game 5. That’s the only way I think the Avs can beat that team, is to just outwork ’em. Work is what’s going to beat that team, not “talent.”
I can’t stand that word anymore, by the way. Talent. For me, it’s becoming a cursed word to the Avs. Everybody always raves about their “talent”, their “talented core”, their “talented roster.” The way I want to be labeled as a hockey team is “hard-working”, “gritty”, “tough”, “playoff tough.”
Hard work and playoff toughness are what wins this time of year, not “talent.” The Avs did outwork Vegas for most of the hockey game last night. Play that way again, and you have a decent chance of winning. If the Avs try to win on “talent”, it’s going to be “adios, 2021 season.”
Sure, “talent” can get you a great goal now and then, and of course you want that. But it’s hard work over 60 minutes, not a flashy goal or two, that’s going to win you the playoff game.
Make no mistake, there is a lot of pressure on this Avs team. A win, and it’s Game 7 on home ice, the kind of advantage you worked all season to get. A loss?
There will be changes. I know a lot of you will ask “Does that mean with the coaching position too, changes?”
Yeah, it might. I think Jared Bednar is a great guy and a great coach, but Joe Sakic is going to ask himself some questions if this ends again in the second round for a third straight season.
“Do I need a guy who has been there before and maybe a bit of a hardass (Torts, Babcock, Gallant, Boudreau?).”
“This was Jared’s fifth year at the helm. Are guys gonna start tuning him out now?”
The Avs will have cap issues going into next year, and some guys are going to have to go because of money, probably. They’re going to lose a good player to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft.
But forget about those things for a second. The only thing that matters is trying to find a way to steal a Game 6 in Vegas.
“I think the mood is pretty good. We know what we have to do. We have to go into Vegas and win one game,” Bednar said Wednesday. “For us, that’s how we have to play.”
On Nathan MacKinnon, who has been “shut down”, according to the Vegas media, by Mark Stone and Pete DeBoer’s brilliant adjustments.
“I thought Nate was pretty good last night. I think he’s putting a little too much pressure on himself. A little antsy with the puck. I think he’s ready and he’s going to break out in this next game,” Bednar said.
I’ve thought this team was dead and buried before. Like, after Game 5 in the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals, against New Jersey. The Avs lost Game 5 at home to go down 3-2 in the series, and had to go to New Jersey for a Game 6 against the defending Cup champion Devils. Yeah, I thought it was over. But it wasn’t. The Avs gutted out a 4-0 win and came back home and won the whole damn thing.
Right now, it feels hopeless. But it did 20 years ago too. This is a strange game.