Game 5 tonight should see the same Avalanche lineup as Game 4, with Alex Newhook still in. He was one of the two players made available to the media this morning – along with Jack Johnson – which is a strong sign they’ll be in the lineup in the Avs’ attempt to close out Round 2 against the St. Louis Blues.
Asked about his thoughts on being scratched for the first six games of the playoffs, Newhook said: “You just do what you can to stay ready. At a moment’s notice, you could be in. Obviously, it’s not fun being in, but we’ve got a deep team. We’ve talked a lot about no egos, and I think guys have bought into that.”
I thought Newhook played pretty well in Game 4, chipping in with an assist on the Erik Johnson goal that got the Avs on the board in the second period.
“Adrenaline kicks in, in a big game like that,” Newhook said. “There’s no real time to be rusty.”
I also thought Jack Johnson played very well in Game 4. He skated well, moved the puck well.
So, the Avs have three chances to win once and close out a second round for the first time since 2002. The odds are good. But as the guy who has covered this team from Day 1, I’m here to just give a friendly reminder: don’t count those chickens. They haven’t hatched yet. I was there when the Avs blew 3-1 leads to Edmonton (1998), Los Angeles (2001 and 2002 – yes, the Avs did win the Game 7s in both series, but still…), Minnesota (2003, and, not to mention, a 3-2 lead on the Wild in 2014), not to mention a 3-2 lead on Dallas in 1999.
I think the Avs will win the series, mind you. But – it’s not over til it’s over.
Jared Bednar was asked whether he thinks the Avs will have to “weather a storm” by the desperate Blues to start the game.
“We’re going to try and create a storm of our own,” Bednar said.
Blues coach Craig Berube, unlike before Game 4, did have a comment this time about the Nazem Kadri situation:
“I’m not on social media. I was aware of a threat made to Nazem, not the racist stuff. In no way is it acceptable by the St. Louis Blues or anybody else for him to have to go through that. Being a Native American myself, I’ve heard it all, I’ve been around it. It’s not a good thing. So I just wanted to get that out there that there’s no room for it anywhere.”
Blues will go with 12 forwards and six D tonight. Calle Rosen, Scott Perunovich out, Nathan Walker, Marco Scandella in.
Remember, it’s a 6 p.m. start. If you can’t go to the game, it’s on national TV and Blake Street Tavern is having a watch party. Get the prime rib sandwich au jus if you go.
See you tonight.