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Avalanche Skate: Eller Injury Update, Face-offs Key for Colorado



lars eller nhl trade deadline avalanche

Friday afternoon’s skate was as optional as it gets for the Colorado Avalanche.

The only skaters on the ice who had played the night before were Denis Malgin and Erik Johnson. Both worked off on their own for a short period of time. The rest of the ice was taken up by scratches from the night before. Andrew Cogliano was among those players who skated, and will go on the trip with the team, but there was no update on whether or not he will play. Everyone on the team will travel to Seattle, including captain Gabriel Landeskog, who has been a voice in the locker room during intermissions.

Lars Eller did not take another shift after going hard into the boards on Thursday night. Bednar didn’t answer if he may miss time, but did at least provide a little bit of an update.

“He’s okay,” he said of Eller. “Obviously hurting a little bit today, but he’s okay.”

One area that Eller helps out in is face-offs. He won three of the five he took in game two, and if you look back at the four goals the Avalanche have scored this series, three of them have come off face-off wins.

“It’s huge,” Bednar said of face-offs this time of year. “We get a couple clean draws, one’s a really nice play. Gives you the chance to get a good shooting lane with bodies to the net right away. You see it’s been a big factor in the Dallas/Minny series. It’s always important. You either start with possession or try to create a shot opportunity with a numerical advantage at the net that helps you create scoring chances and find a rhythm to your game.”

All three of those goals have looked to come off set plays. The players ultimately decide which one they like best, but they usually come from the coaches.

“I give them a handful that I think that they should look at,” Bednar said.

Avalanche players are expecting it to be a hostile environment in Seattle on Saturday night. It will be the first playoff game in franchise history, and fans will be going nuts.

So as an opposing player, do you use that energy to your own advantage or do you tune it out?

“A bit of both, I guess,” Logan O’Connor said. “I think ultimately we’d love to have a good start and quiet the crowd. We know Seattle fans are pretty intense and loud with the Seahawks and whatnot. We sort of have to do what they did to us the last two games, and that comes with hot starts. Try and get the lead early, quiet the crowd down, and just play our game.”

Other Tidbits

  • Logan O’Connor said he didn’t see Brandon Tanev‘s celebration until after the game, but that you have to use it as motivation. “I don’t think guys on our team will be doing that. But you know, he can do whatever he wants out there, I guess.”
  • I asked O’Connor about being a part of history, playing that first playoff game in Seattle: “It’s going to be awesome,” he said.
  • I leave for Seattle Saturday morning and will be there for morning skate. Look for more coverage at CHN live from games three and four.

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

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