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Avalanche Room: MacKinnon Plays The Mental Game With Stars, ‘No Quit’ In His Team

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Avalanche MacKinnon

It’s not over for the Colorado Avalanche just yet, and Nathan MacKinnon seemed to send a message to the Dallas Stars after Game Five: We’ve been in your position, and we know it’s not easy.

MacKinnon, who was dead tired by the end of the interview and was “running out of words,” reminisced back to the 2022 Stanley Cup run when his Avalanche squad failed to close out the Blues and Lightning in Game Five when they had the chance. The way he said it almost sounded like he was playing a bit of the mental game with the Stars, who now will have some pressure on them to avoid having to fly back to Dallas for a Game Seven.

The Avalanche star also talked about that late goal at the end of the first period and how his team isn’t going to just roll over and die.

It wasn’t all good news for the Avalanche, as they had to play the majority of the game without Yakov Trenin. He left in the first period and never came back. After the game, Jared Bednar gave an update on his status…kind of. Bednar also talked about his dominant stars, including Cale Makar, as well as why he decided to split up the MacKinnon/Rantanen combination.

Avalanche Forward Nathan MacKinnon

MacKinnon on leaning on experience:

“We’ve never really chased a 3-1 deficit recently, but we know how it felt after we lost to St. Louis when we were up 3-1. It felt like the world was ending. Same thing with Tampa in the finals. It’s a lot. Obviously we won the Game 6s, but it doesn’t feel great when you let a team back in. It’s our job to put a little pressure on them.”

MacKinnon on the last second goal in the first:

“Yeah, it’s huge. We’re not chasing the game. Same thing after the second. We’re not chasing it. We just feel like we’re hanging around and just not going away. That was a key tonight. Just no quit.”

Avalanche Forward Jonathan Drouin

Avalanche Head Coach Jared Bednar

ON CALE MAKAR’S SECOND GOAL:

“I think he did that like three times. He drove one right to the paint, and I don’t know what it hit, I haven’t seen it on replay, but he drove it right in there all the way down to Oettinger. They did a nice job sort of picking everyone else up. To be able to recognize that and not just shoot it from distance after you beat a guy and to be able to drive it in the paint takes an elite level of patience and awareness and skill. And he showed that multiple times tonight. They’re doing such a good job getting in the shooting lanes. Everyone one of our D or theirs doesn’t have the ablity (like Makar) to dance a guy in space and get to the net, right? It takes elite skill to be able to do that and there’s only a handful of guys in the league that can do it. And he ends up doing it multiple times tonight to create that scoring chance. It’s just high skill awareness. Understanding your opponent I’m sure is part of it and what they’re trying to do. Great on him. That’s what we need from him. Obviously we need that now especially where we’re at in the series. His skill shines through and his competitiveness shines through tonight.’’

SPLITTING UP MACKINNON/RANTANEN… THOUGHTS ON THE RESULTS OF THAT:

“No complaints. I was asked earlier why and we weren’t producing. We weren’t producing enough to win and I think as a coach, you want to try and stay with it. Let the team respond. Let the line respond to whatever tactical and systematic things you can give them. But at some point you might need to change it to get a spark. It’s always a balance of just going to something new or changing it too early. They’ve proven in the past that they can come back. And they might have had a great game together tonight. I don’t know. But I did like both those lines. (Drouin), he played a really good Game four coming back from injury. He’s had chemistry with MacK so we put him there and obviously they had a good night and same thing with Mikko. Impactful plays like he gets in on the forecheck. Good breakout, good dump, good forecheck to sort of create the Parise to Girard shot that Mittelstadt scores on. So I mean, we’re happy with the change. No question. I don’t think we can we can sort of look back and say we’re not. We got the win. That’s the most important thing.”

UPDATE ON YAKOV TRENIN:

“He wasn’t good enough to come back in the game. I don’t know if it’s anything serious. But if he misses next game, it’s serious enough and then we’ll see like we’ll see how he presents tomorrow, what kind of work the trainers can do on him. And we’ll try to get him ready to go and if he’s not ready, we’d have to put somebody else in.”

ON HIS AVALANCHE FINALLY GETTING A LEAD:

“Oh, yeah. Definitely. Like to get our first lead in the series even though it’s been close for long periods of time. Then they gotta push. Like, we haven’t forced them throughout the course of this series to push and have to try and create. They are a smart, disciplined, well coached, well balanced hockey team. Part of that is, you’re allowed to be that more often when you’re not behind. So it was frustrating because I thought we had a good first period. When that turnover finally happens we were talking and trying to make sure we’re disciplined and pushing to try and get the first goal and still defending the right way and we haven’t been able to get it. And we finally get it in the third period, so that helps. You can see that, even though there’s 18 minutes left, they have to get more guys involved in their attack to try and create. Hopefully we’re defending well enough throughout the course of the series that they’re gonna have to put more guys involved in the rush and O-zone play. And we’re able to capitalize again so it’s I think it’s huge to be able to get that and gives our team room to breathe. They are a disciplined group and resilient group so you get the lead I don’t think the comeback goal rattled us at all. W’ve got lots of time to keep pushing, keep doing the right things and just stressing the right things on the bench. But they were bought into it tonight. It was a really big group effort here.”

Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar

ON ALEXANDAR GEORGIEV’S RESOLVE:

“Yeah, I mean, playoffs can be unique. You can have off games sometimes, but it’s about how you recover and how you’re mentally strong enough to bring it back. And obviously, going back to the last series, it was a tough first game for the whole team, it wasn’t just him. Then he just completely picked it up and changed his mindset in the second game and he’s been awesome for us. And so, again, that just goes back to that toughness and the mentality that it doesn’t matter anymore. You’re kind of just going day-by-day.”

Avalanche goaltender Alexandar Georgiev

ON THAT LAST SECOND GOAL IN THE FIRST

“Yeah, it was huge. We didn’t want to be down one coming into the second. I felt we played so great the first period, spending so much time in their zone, creating good chances and great feeling to capitalize on that and we have a little energy coming into the second.”

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Mark Messier

Funny how MacKinnon speaks to media after wins only.  MacKinnon was a complete zero during this game.  Sure he scored the fifth and unnecessary goal.  His defense is weak.  He NEVER forechecks.  He had many chances to forecheck (MiAkko too) yet they shy away from it.

Avs are true cowards and finesse players who have failed in the playoffs.

Time for MacZero to step up consistently, finish checks, play defense.  He screwed the team!

Rick Bennett

Alexander, you really think a goal with 3:10 left that makes it a two-goal lead on a team trying to claw back is unnecessary? I find that diffcult to believe even from you. MacKinnon has been speaking only after wins for years. Reporters mentioned in the 48 point season that he would just point to Landeskog’s stall after losses. It’s part of the whole package you get with a guy who’s at least the second best forward in the game. It’s also why people who think he’ll be named captain someday are likely very misguided though he does lead and… Read more »

Ken

While I agree with very little that the OP has to say. His take on Mack is pretty spot on. We all love the great things he is capable of and he can be a point producing machine. However, he very rarely finishes checks, and in our zone he just circles and waves his stick around. He needs to be WAY more engaged all over the ice in the playoffs.

Rick Bennett

Yes his take is spot on. MacK is a coward and finesse player who has failed in the playoffs. I’m sure if he played more defensively and finished more checks none of the people who love finding things to whine about would whine about his offensive numbers going down or him being injured more often,

Joshua Canfield

lol okay boomer (?)

Joshua Canfield

I can see that. Sometimes. When he’s fully engaged, he forechecks and lays down some pretty brutal hits (usually reverse hits).

I think the keyword here, with Mack, is “engaged”. Those three loses both him & Mikko were nowhere to be found. It was embarrassing as a fan.

Joshua Canfield

Man, ugh, you made me login just to down vote your comment.

MacKinnon is easily a top 5 player in the league, that’s been true the last 4-5 seasons. A good offensive makes for a good defense. He has two hits and 8 blocks this series.

“Avs are true cowards”, dude are you watching the same game as the rest of us lol

I welcome different points of view but this is the second this week I’ve had to login to let you know that your comment is I’ll-informed and nonsensical.

(might be time to put down the booze)

John H

Hockey ignorance coupled with a delusional sense of expertise certainly yields a bizarre rant.

“He screwed the team.” They WON the friggin game!

The “complete zero” guy had two points.

News Flash: it’s a good thing to score a goal in a playoff road victory.

Also you’re forgetting, more likely ignoring, MacKinnon’s perfect pass that set up the period – ending first goal.

Joshua Canfield

It’s good to hear from MacKinnon after that win. The Avs are in a very difficult spot of their own making. They went from dominate against the Jets to completely disengaged against the Stars in games 2-4. This post season the Avs are 5-1 when Mack has at least 2 points. They are 1-4 when he has 1 or less points. They need their star players to show up. They also have to convert on the PP. Special teams is key in the Playoffs. While I believe the Stars are stacked & have better depth, this Avs team is experienced… Read more »

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