This morning, Riley Tufte was in Loveland, practicing with the Colorado Eagles. Later that evening, he was in Colorado, scoring the game winning goal for the Avalanche.
Now, he’s hoping that his Thanksgiving plans change a little bit, as he’d like to head out onto the road trip with the Avalanche, as they’ll be in Minnesota on Friday night.
After the game, I got a little bit of time alone with both Tufte and Jonathan Drouin, who had probably his best game in an Avalanche uniform. In addition, Jared Bednar spoke after the game and gave his thoughts on the questionable ejection of Josh Manson.
Drouin on what he saw on the iPad between the first and second power plays:
“Obviously, they play a diamond, where it’s always three high. You saw on that goal. I wanted to get Mikko on the goal line. He’s very good there. He made a great play. It was a 2-on-1 where it was practice almost. Obviously when you give that much time to a skilled player like Mikko, he’s going to make those passes and those plays, and it was a great finish by Val.”
Tufte on his Thanksgiving plans potentially changing:
“Planning on actually hosting the minor league team at my house for Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s the best of both worlds. If I’m going back on the road trip, I’m going back home to Minny so I get to spend it with my family there.”
Tufte on getting called up the day of, and if that is better:
“Yeah, I think, kind of a last minute thing can be frustrating at times, but it can help because it doesn’t give you time to think. Can just go out there and play. The nice thing about it is that I’m always basically staying at my house. Not staying in hotels if I’m up and down. Off days, I get to go home and spend time with my family there.”
Bednar on Josh Manson’s ejection:
“I don’t know. I got one look at it on video, so I didn’t see all the angles. Obviously, they went to review, so I mean, I’ll try to find some other angles tonight or tomorrow morning. My first instinct was that Boeser goes at him with the cross-check, and he goes a little bit higher and there arms ride up. I didn’t think there was a lot there, but again, I haven’t seen and watched through the video.”
Bednar on the Avalanche overcoming another ejection:
“I thought we were here to play tonight. No question. Loved our first. The second, it’s just so hard. They outplayed us in the second, but half of that time it was all powerplays. We had some short powerplays, and it was just changing. We had half our team sitting on the bench in the second period. And most of those guys are our top guys, because they’re not out there all the time, penalty killing and what not. I thought it was tough to get back into it. It seemed like the urgency to our defending wasn’t there for a couple of shifts, and then the period was over.
I wanted our team to reset and get back to what we were doing in the first period to finish the game. I thought our team played hard in the third and did a lot of good things. The whole lineup, too. Got some guys back into the game and were able to secure the win. We had a nice effort from a lot of guys throughout our lineup.”
Bednar on Cale Makar’s run right now:
“Extremely impressive. It’s important. Everyone is not always going to be riding a hot streak, even your top guys. You like to think that you get a couple of guys hot, especially the big difference makers, and if they cool off a bit, then someone else kind of takes over, but he’s been a constant for us. We need that. You look at some of the guys that are out of the lineup. Every team gets injuries, but it’s key guys that do a lot for us, so it’s good. You’re short a D or two, especially tonight when you lose Manson, you need other guys to step up, so it’s a heavy workload and it’s an impressive game from him.”
Bednar on Avalanche forward Logan O’Connor’s status:
“Lower body, day to day.”
Bednar on Nathan MacKinnon, who went in for an x-ray after the game:
“I do not know. I haven’t gotten word after the game yet from trainers.”
Bednar on how Tufte is dealing with the back and forth:
“Pretty good. Quick summary of his play, he’s played three games prior to tonight. The first one was outstanding, was a difference maker the whole time. Second one was a little step down, I’d say it was a good game. Third one, I didn’t think was very good at all. He goes back down. He’s always responded going down and playing hard, and then he comes up tonight in a game that we were really hungry to win, and he plays really well again. I’d like the longer he spends here, the more times he’s here, I’d like to see the consistency stay at 85% of his best game or better, but it’s a young guy coming into the league for one of his first opportunities, so hopefully we’ll get there.”
Bednar on Avalanche forward Jonathan Drouin’s game:
“I thought it was good. I think I touched on it the other day when someone asked (me) but his game is starting to come. You can see more quickness, hungrier in puck battles, he’s coming up with some pucks. Forecheck, neutral zone forecheck. I’d say he’s been on a steady improvement the last 5-6 games and you can start see his skill come out, so it’s a good time for him to start ramping up his game for us.”