One, Ivan Prosvetov looked real strong, and could be deserving of some more starts. And two, Artturi Lehkonen is out of the neck brace, and around the team. I saw him walking around after the win, and he seemed to be moving okay. Don’t expect him back any time soon, but still nice to see him with his teammates.
Check out video from Prosvetov, Ryan Johansen, and read what Avalanche coach Jared Bednar had to say.
Bednar on Avalanche forward Jonathan Drouin:
“I think his his game’s been on a on a rise for more than a half a dozen games now and he’s starting to produce, and he’s he’s earned a spot on the top power play unit, which I think he’s helping. I think that’s seven games in a row now with a power play goal, so they’re having some success and that goal was beautiful goal. Nice setup by MacK, Mikko on the entry but even nicer to play by Drouin to drive it in and into a real good scoring area and finish it off.”
Bednar on Prosvetov’s game:
“Great game tonight. I thought he was outstanding tonight. You know, it wasn’t a ton of work at times during the game, and then there was some flurries. I thought he was outstanding. Yeah, he looked really quick and strong and covers a lot of net as a big guy.”
Bednar on the back-to-back:
“If you’re ever gonna get a back-to-back, it’s nice that both teams are not playing on full tanks, but I thought overall team effort was pretty good. Yeah. penalty kill was great. Again, we got a good goaltending performance, scored some timely goals. They came at us in the third but we had a couple shifts and a couple of flurries ourselves, so we could have built that lead up.”
Bednar on if he’s happier with the play of the Avalanche now compared to their 6-0 start:
“No question. No question. I mean, I just think now when you deep dive into the game like I do that, we’re not giving up as much. We’re playing a better overall team game for 200 feet right now, so I feel good about it. I think there’s still other levels that we’re going to need to get to but now I feel comfortable with where we’re at and we’re winning games. It seems like more of a mature game from our group.”
Bednar on MacKinnon breaking through:
“I mean, he tends to have these stretches throughout the course of every year that he gets snake bit a little bit. He’s still generating some good chances and doesn’t put the puck in the net. He’s still picking up a lot of points on production with helping his linemates but he also tends to get hot every once in a while and ride a streak for a while. So I think he’s been a little bit frustrated but he continues to kind of work and try to do the right things and just hasn’t been clicking for him but I think like anybody else, like Drouin, he gets on the board a couple times. And now he’s playing with a ton of confidence. I think the same thing can happen to Nate.”
Bednar on Nichushkin’s play and if it’s better than last year:
“No question. I mean, I think Val went through his struggles last year, a couple of different things, injuries coming off the cup run and I don’t know that he ever really got to the Val we knew the year before. This year, a little bit of a slow start and then, I’ve touched on it, understandable, babies late, he’s waiting on it, he’s anxious. His head’s not probably fully on hockey, which is understandable. I kind of got the feeling that maybe after he had his baby and everything kind of settled down that we’d start to see him go and we have. He’s been outstanding. I mean, I played with 27 minutes last night. He didn’t look like he was lacking any energy tonight in the back-to-back, when some guys were. Clearly don’t want to keep him at that pace, but with OC being out, he was doing double duty, Power Play, penalty kill, there was lots of that. And then 5-on-5 on the top line. I mean, it’s gonna be a heavy workload for him, but if there’s anyone that can handle it, it’s him.”
Bednar on Lehkonen being in the building with the Avalanche:
“Well, he’s doing good. He’s out of the neck brace that he was in for a while, but nothing else really new to that, besides the fact that he’s gone and checked back in with the doctors. Everything seems to be going fine and he’s lucky it wasn’t worse and now he’s starting to make some progress. And he’s been around the team a little bit more. I’m sure as the days and weeks start coming by here, he’ll get more into the working out and rehab stuff and do what he can.”