Avalanche aims to stick to five-minute plan in Game 2 of Stanley Cup Final

Jared Bednar is a Five Minute Plan evangelist. The avalanche trainer does not go from period to period, but up to four stretches in each frame.

He studies game videos in five-minute spans when no special teams are involved and wants his team to focus on playing that way. Aside from the power play and penalty shootout, Colorado’s main focus is going up against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday.

“It just narrows our focus and stays in the moment,” Bednar said after Friday’s practice at the Ball Arena. “You can’t always do it. If you score a penalty or a power play try to win the two minute game (but otherwise) we can kind of break it down and we have a good five minutes and we move on to the next. For me it just helps the guys stay focused and in the moment and dedicated to what they are trying to do.”

The five-minute plan helped the Avs get this far. They beat Tampa Bay 38-23 in a 4-3 overtime win in Game 1 to take a 1-0 lead. They’ve been using the plan all season and don’t want to deviate from it in the final. That’s why they always say they want to hold on to their identity.

“Five-minute segments in each period where you’re trying to create momentum for your team,” Avs defenseman Devon Toews said Friday. “You will get a jab and you try to hold it as infrequently as possible. If you feel like you can build those five-minute segments consistently, you have a good chance of winning the game.”

Avs defenseman Josh Manson said the five-minute plan is a “pretty common message” in the NHL, but on this team “you like to repeat it throughout the game and before every game because it’s an important thing for our club.” is. We want to make sure there is a focus every five minutes. No matter what, we sit back and leave because we want to bring the game to the teams.”

The Avs are now 13-2 in the postseason. But they’re playing against a team that has won 11 consecutive series — the first eight en route to winning the Stanley Cup in the last two seasons.

Colorado might have the momentum in Game 2, but Tampa Bay is no stranger to winning a series after losing Game 1. The Lightning lost series openings in the first round to the Toronto Maple Leafs and in the Eastern Conference Finals to the New York Rangers. They bounced back from a 3-2 series deficit to defeat the Leafs in seven games and trailed 2-0 to Rangers before winning the last four.

“I think they just trust their system,” Manson said of the Bolts. “They have confidence in what they are doing and how they have succeeded, and they know that when they do, results usually follow. I think that’s the same mantra we’ve embraced: if we play the way we want to, we will succeed. So obviously it’s going to be a good fight (Saturday).

Bednar also foresees this fight, which he says his team is prepared for.

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