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Avalanche Room: Girard’s Impact, Coach Notes Depth Difference From Last Year



Avalanche Sam Girard

You can’t give this Colorado Avalanche team an inch, because they’ll take a mile. That’s exactly what happened in the third period of Game Three.

It’s a far cry from the team the Avalanche put on the ice against the Seattle Kraken in the postseason last year. Jared Bednar noted after the game how little depth scoring that team had. That’s not the case through three games against the Jets, as the Avalanche are getting contributions from everyone.

Sam Girard, playing his first game in nearly two weeks, stepped in and made an immediate impact. You can watch his post-game availability below, and read what Ross Colton and Bednar had to say about his game. Casey Mittelstadt praised Avalanche fans for how loud they were, as the players certainly noticed. Bednar and MacKinnon had a lot to say about the 2C of the Avalanche as well.

Here’s your recap of what was said post-game after the Avalanche beat the Jets 6-2.

Sam Girard

Nathan MacKinnon on Casey Mittelstadt:

“Yeah, he’s been unreal. I just love his competitive level. Yeah, it’s great to see him rise his game on the biggest stage, the brightest lights, and he looked awesome tonight. Not many guys would sauce that over in a third period playoff game, and it just shows you the confidence and poise he has.”

Ross Colton on the third period for the Avalanche:

“Yeah, I think for us, being down one in the third there, we didn’t sit back on our heels and I think we kind of just took it to them. When we play with that speed, we play with that energy, we’re good team. Obviously, we got some power plays there. But we drew them with hard work and getting in on the forecheck and kind of putting them under pressure. So it all starts with that. So I think credit to the guys in the room for just sticking with the process and kind of putting ourselves in a good situation.”

Mittelstadt on Zach Parise:

“I think everyone in the room looks up to Zach. Me especially, being a Minnesota kid. It’s an honor play with him and he did a heck of a job. I mean, he’s flying around out there hitting guys, making plays. So made my job easy tonight.”

Colton on the impact of Sam Girard:

“G’s huge. He’s a big part of this team. Obviously he was a huge part of that team when they won the cup. So anytime we have a guy out of the lineup, it’s obviously tough but we have a deep locker room and kind of just next up mentality. So give a lot of credit to Jonesy, who stepped up in games one and two and played phenomenal for us. But, you know, having G back, he’s another guy who gets up in the offense. He was a big part of that goal that we scored there at the end of that power play so he kind of looked right at home there.”

Mittelstadt on veteran linemates helping him:

“Yeah, especially Lehky, he’s kind of been pretty consistent. He’s been talking to me a ton and helped me out. I think there was a little bit of a rough patch, just trying to figure out where I am and I definitely owe Lehky a lot for that. And the other two guys as well.”

Mittelstadt on the Avalanche crowd:

“Yeah, I mean, the crowd was insane. So my expectations were blown out of the water for sure.”

Mittelstadt on if the Avalanche can play better:

“I think we definitely could have maybe played better in the first and even parts of the second. I thought, like Coach said in between periods, like halfway through the second, I thought we found our rhythm and found our game and started painting them back a little bit. I thought that carried over into the third. But since I’ve been here I thought the third was maybe the best period we’ve played. So from there I think we can maybe have a little better start and just keep playing.”

Jared Bednar on the third period:

“Well, the powerplay is what gave us the life, Right? Like, you got to earn your penalties too. You know, like I thought it was hard fought, hard checking game. Offense was tough to come by, you know, skilled players are making some plays, and you get some opportunities, if you get the right bounce, rebound, et cetera, but there wasn’t a whole lot of room to move, which was fine. That’s what we expected and then eventually we kind of work and get the power plays. Powerplay came up huge. It’s the difference in the hockey game.”

Bednar on Mittelstadt:

“Turned up his intensity of his game. You notice the great pass. It’s a skill play, high skill play. He makes a few other high skill plays that lead to scoring chances tonight, but I was most impressed with him with his wallwork. He’s been heavy and strong on pucks in the d-zone walls and the ozone walls, guys trying to check him. He’s comfortable with guys playing on his back, reaching around him, continues to move his feet. He’s a guy that once it’s on his stick, can survey the Ice and checkoff option 1, 2, 3 etc. And then it’s just making the right decision from there. I just think it’s intensity, its excitement to play this time of year, and his games gone to a whole new level and he showed it here tonight.”

Bednar on Alexandar Georgiev:

“I thought, you know, again, scoring chances were hard to come by but we have some breakdowns, right? And some I didn’t like and when we had them, he was there. He made big saves. Breakaway goal up off the controlled forecheck, huge save we go back down and get a chance to the other end. I mean, he was doing that all night. He looks strong down low around the net, wasn’t giving up a bunch of rebounds. I thought our team did a nice job in front of him too, like blocking shots and getting into shooting lanes and knocking pucks down. You throw a lot of pucks to the net, like we are and like they are, there’s gonna be pucks that people track down and you need to save, and I thought he was awesome again tonight, so it gives us time to like just keep chipping away and chipping away and eventually we earn power plays and and capitalize on them. I mean, Georgie, first star for me tonight.”

Bednar on the impact Girard made for the Avalanche and how he hit the ground running:

“Yeah, I thought he was great. Yeah, well, he’s been working, you know? That’s the one thing is, even though he was working back, he was able to go on the ice and stay on the ice and keep his hands and keep his legs, so that’s really important. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t dealing with some stuff along the way, but if you look at his breakouts, his ability to escape the forecheck. G’s a complete, 200 foot player, right? Offensively, defensively makes an impact, but he really helps on the breakouts for us.”

Bednar on MacKinnon’s 200 foot game for the Avalanche:

“I thought he was outstanding in Winnipeg. Outstanding. I thought those guys had a tough start to the game tonight, our top line. And they got better as the game went on. And then they made an impact when it mattered most in the third period. He’s been in that mode for a little while here. We were trying to dig ourselves out of a little slump we had going in (to the playoffs). I thought that line, him especially, during that 9-1 stretch, it was a complete hockey game. He wasn’t just looking for points. As many points as he had, it sounds absurd to say this, but he’s not looking for points. He understands how to play the right way. He’s learned that over the course of his career and he’s pretty consistent with it throughout the course of the year. It’s not that he’s more committed to it in the playoffs. It’s tougher to do during the playoffs, to shut teams down and still create, but he finds a way.”

Bednar on this year’s team vs. last year’s Avalanche team:

“Well, last year, we had no goals outside of our top three forwards and defensemen. This year, I don’t know, you’d have to total it up, but it’s huge contributions. We’re a deeper team, there’s no question about it.”

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