As they have been doing on days between games, the Colorado Avalanche had an optional skate for the scratches and held media availability for a few players and Jared Bednar.
The big thing on everyone’s mind right now is the absence of Valeri Nichushkin. Unfortunately, there isn’t really any update on the situation.
When asked if there was a timeline at all on Nichushkin’s return, Bednar responded with a quick “no.”
As far as we know, he’s still not in Seattle.
Darren Helm missed last night’s game due to the injuries he’s been dealing with all season, but the team is hopeful that he can return again this series. He skated today with the scratches, and was on the ice for morning skate Saturday.
“He’s day-to-day,” Bednar said. “Hopefully there’s a chance that he can play tomorrow. We don’t know for sure.”
Jack Johnson also skated for the first time since he was a surprise scratch in game one due to a lower-body injury. The answer was much of the same with him.
“I don’t have a definite answer on that,” Bednar said. “He’s working through his injury. If he feels good enough to hit the ice, he will. I still would have him as day-to-day as well.”
Well, he must have been feeling pretty good.
On the ice, the penalty kill for the Avalanche has been exceptional. They gave up a very late powerplay goal to the Kraken when the game was already out of hand, but beyond that, they’ve limited Seattle and even scored a shorthanded goal of their own. I asked J.T. Compher if it’s easier to prepare for one team as opposed to playing a different powerplay every other night.
“I don’t know about easier because they get the same thing, right?” Compher told me. “The powerplay gets to almost get reps against the PK each game, and learn. I think the detail has been really good. We were prepared going into the series of what we needed to do, and I think we’ve done a really good job on the rush, not letting them get set up so easily. That kills a lot of time on the penalty kill. You have the detail in the PK, and I think that’s been the main part for us, right now.”
Other News and Notes
- Bednar stated that Avalanche defenseman Josh Manson has been getting better and better each game. “More involved yesterday, less mistakes with the puck, looked more relaxed. Added an element of physicality that he probably didn’t have with his legs not being underneath him in game one.”
- One of the things Bednar liked about the defensive setup in the playoffs last season was three left shots and three right shots playing their strong sides. That hasn’t been the case this series. “It’s just the way we’ve seen our guys perform over the recent past. Byram, Makar, Girard, Toews are eating up most of the ice-time, and Toews has done a great job on the right side, and we like some of the matchups they get to see together, so they’re playing together.”