AVALANCHE

‘We played exactly how we wanted to play,’ Avs dominate Preds in Game 1

May 3, 2022, 11:23 PM
Devon Toews...
Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

Everyone knows the Colorado Avalanche’s recipe for success this season.

Wait, you didn’t?

Well, now you do after game one against the Nashville Predators.

The Avs boat raced the Preds 7-2, netting five in the first and ending backup netminder David Rittich’s night early.

The home team showed their depth, quickness and that silky smooth offense all moments after puck drop.

“Whenever you capitalize early in the game and then sort of carry that momentum through the first period… I felt like we played exactly how we wanted to play,” Head Coach Jared Bednar said. “We were using our speed. We were on pucks quickly. Guys were forechecking hard. We were aggressive. It was really nice to score early; the crowd helps with that. They’re buzzing right away from the drop of the puck. Guys could feel the energy in the building.”

The white pom-poms and sold-out playoff crowd was the first since 2019 due to COVID-19 restrictions and it felt like a parade of love for the boys in Burgundy.

“The better we played defensively the more offense we create,” the coach said. “We might not finish on all of our chances like we did tonight. but when we’re checking the right way, we’re getting the puck back quicker. We’re spending less time in our zone, and we’re able to go on the attack, and part of our makeup of our group is we got some talented forwards and talented D. When we have the puck more, it just gives them more time to be able to create.”

Captain Gabriel Landeskog added to his coach’s assessment of what it’s going to take to get the real parade, 15 wins away.

“The margin for error is just that much smaller; you’re gonna be very tight with your details and especially defending the details,” he said. “It’s playoff games. You normally don’t score six or seven goals normally that’s not going to be the case, and I think for us, the team focus is still on our defense. We come out, playing with pace. The conversation in the room isn’t about how we’re going to score goals, necessarily, it’s about how we’re going to defend and how fast we’re going to be quick to contact and D zone. And that, for us, for our team that translates to good offensive chances so I’d say that’s a focus and that’s a difference.”

As for changes headed into Thursday’s game two, Nashville’s star goalie Juuse Saros will still be out with an injury. Andrew Cogliano left the game early with an upper-body injury after his beautiful short-handed goal and Kurtis MacDermid is always an option for Bednar if he feels the need for a more physical punch. The Preds got chippy down several goals, wouldn’t you be?

“We had a great start; I thought the game was played pretty well after that,” Bednar said. “They’re going to come ready to play right from the drop of the puck there. I’m sure there’ll be talking about weathering the storm from the start of the game. I’d like to come out and have the exact same start.”

Mission 16 W: 1 down, 15 to go.

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‘We played exactly how we wanted to play,’ Avs dominate Preds in Game 1