Ball Arena was quiet and the pom-poms not out yet when the Avs took the ice before their Game 1 Western Conference finals matchup against the Edmonton Oilers tomorrow night in Denver. A first for Colorado Avalanche fans in 20 years.
“I think we’re just excited. Obviously, this is a place personally, I have never been before. So we have a lot of guys on our team with experience with this, which is good. I think we’re excited to get going,” said Cale Makar.
The Avs enter the series as solid favorites with the bookmakers, including at Caesars Sportsbook, where there is a great opportunity to get in now while the odds are still good.
Everyone was accounted for including captain Gabriel Landeskog, who has been taking morning skates and practices off. The mood was lighthearted as you could hear players chirping and cheering when there was a goal.
The first line was back together. Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen and Nazem Kadri also had a blue jersey on. At this point in the game it’s to imagine too many drastic changes to the lineup. Last series we saw Andre Burakovsky sit a couple of games and the series before that, we saw Logan O’Connor sit a couple of games too.
Darcy Kuemper spoke with the media after practice and spoke about his preparation.”From a preparation standpoint, you don’t change anything. The game itself hasn’t changed, just the “urgency and intensity. ” said Kuemper.
Coach Bednar has found success sticking with the same lineup as well as changing it up. The same thing could be said with tweaking the lines. Throughout the season Bednar mentioned how important is was for the players to build chemistry with each other on different lines.
It’s paying off, so far.