By Lars Mahrendorf TAMPERE, Finland – One night after a Mikko Rantanen hat trick right here in his native sod, it was a more balanced effort for the Colorado Avalanche in a sweep of the Columbus Blue Jackets, with five different players scoring in a 5-1 triumph.
Here are the reactions from the coach and the team:
Jared Bednar was pleased with the game, which might sound like “no duh” but there was some real emphasis to his words this time. He wasn’t just speaking the company line this time, unlike after some previous wins.
“I liked the game a lot. Second period was one of our best games this year. Puck decisions coming out of our zone, we simplified it. Decisions through the neutral zone,” Bednar said. “We were executing. If we couldn’t execute, pucks were deep in the zone and got our forecheck going,” praised a happy coach. “It was a full team effort. It wasn’t just like our big guys in one line. Every line was doing it and having success in one way.”
Nathan Mackinnon, Rantanen and Makar combined for 17 points in the two games, but the defenseman downplayed the individual efforts:
“I don’t’ think it was just the three of us. I feel like there were a lot of guys. Obviously tonight, I think a lot of our forward group stepped up. I Kauter, I thought, played and unbelievable game. ” Makar said. “You saw how hard he was working tonight. He deserved it.”
Martin Kaut scored his first goal since February 29th of 2020, and he was one happy young man afterward.
“I was so glad I finally scored after such a long time. My family is here,” Kaut said.
On being able to stay with the team and play more minutes, he added:
“Nobody likes to be in the AHL. My goal is to be here all season. I know we have some guys that are hurt. I will try to stay here and do my best,” Kaut said.
Finally, Bednar raved about Finland and the experience in total.
“Everyone we met on this trip in Finland has been super welcoming. Great energy about them. They are excited about the game,” Bednar said. “I think it has been a great trip. It seems like a really fun country, and everyone was here to have a good time and enjoy themselves. It was a lot of fun.”
- Bo Byram came out for warm-ups, did an interview with Kyle Keefe for the TV crew, and then was a healthy scratch with a lower-body injury. Bednar called him day-to-day after the game.
- Byram and Valeri Nichuskin will be re-evaluated at home. It’s unknown why Nichushkin is out again, though I did see him pointing to his foot with the medical staff after testing things out at the pregame warmup on Friday.
- The Blue Jackets tried to slow down play once on Friday and on Saturday. They got booed heavily in seconds both times by action-thirsty finish fans. To be fair, when Makar waited behind the net in the third period, he got an echo for that as well.
- This was technically the Blue Jackets’ home game, but as on Friday, the crowd supported the Avalanche way more. Chants of “Let’s go Avalanche” could be heard several times in Nokia Arena.
- The NHL didn’t bring the Stanley Cup along with the defending champions to Europe. In his media availability ahead of the game, Gary Bettman didn’t know any reason for that. “It probably was prebooked for something else. It has a very heavy schedule,” claimed the commissioner.
- Peter Forsberg was in town for both games. This time he did an interview ahead of the game for a local TV station. As seen earlier on this site, he posed for plenty of pictures with his star-struck fans.