Not only did the Colorado Avalanche get another huge victory at home, but they got one of their most important players back in the lineup.
After the 6-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings, the talk of the Avalanche locker room was how big the return of Valeri Nichushkin was. The giant Russian winger picked up an assist in the game, but his presence alone impacted the team in a positive way, as the team starts to return to health.
Read what Nathan MacKinnon, Evan Rodrigues, and head coach Jared Bednar had to say after the big win.
MacKinnon on playing with Rodrigues:
He’s got great vision. I didn’t know that, obviously, I’d never played with him, but awesome vision. He makes a ton of little players that maybe aren’t the flashiest plays, but are super important to possession and building chemistry. It’s nice to play with a really smart right handed shot. I hadn’t played with a “righty” in my career yet, so it’s fun.
MacKinnon on the team starting to score goals:
Obviously we weren’t playing great but it seemed like everything that could go wrong, was. We’ve turned it around the last couple of games. Two big wins.
MacKinnon on heavy minutes:
25 is a lot, 26 is a lot for forwards, I think. I’m ready for it. I try to take care of myself and be ready to play as much as I’m told.
MacKinnon on Nichushkin’s return:
There’s only one Val in the league. Getting our best player in the finals back in the lineup is big for our team. The top six now, I feel like we can dominate.
MacKinnon on powerplay getting two goals:
It’s been tough. A lot of videos, a lot of discussions. It’s kind of like 5 on 5. You just need one to go in eventually and it will hopefully open up.
Rodrigues on the last two games:
I think we’re playing faster. I think we’re going more north. When we don’t have a play, we’re chipping pucks in. I think we’ve just simplified.
Rodrigues on Nichushkin:
He’s a huge part of it. Powerplay today, big body in front, goalie doesn’t see it. He’s a presence. He’s heavy on pucks. It feels like he completed our lineup.
Bednar on Nichushkin’s impact:
Huge. He’s missed a significant amount of time but I still thought he was really good for us tonight.
Bednar on Francouz:
I thought he was fantastic, especially early. We gave up some really good chances to start the game. First couple of shifts, we gave up two or three chances that he made big saves on to keep us even.
Bednar on what he wants to see on the road:
I want to see the same way we played at home, play on the road. Repeat what we did the other night. I think we have some areas we can improve on in tonight’s game. We find a way to do a lot of good things and get the result we wanted. Now we’ve got to take it to the road and do the same thing.