Avalanche not satisfied with trip to Stanley Cup Final

DENVER– The Colorado Avalanche said they are not content with simply reaching the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since winning the championship in 2001.

“We still have a step to go and I don’t feel like any of our guys are happy,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said Tuesday. “Getting through was great but it wasn’t our goal from the start. Winning it all was and our lads are focused on that and seem determined.”

The Avalanche will face either the New York Rangers or the Tampa Bay Lightning; The Eastern Conference finals are tied 2-2 after the Lightning won Game 4 4-1 on Tuesday. Colorado defeated the Nashville Predators in the first best-of-7 round, defeated the St. Louis Blues in the second round in six games, and defeated the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Finals. The Avalanche have been behind in every game that made the series crucial, including Monday when they rebounded in Game 4 to a 6-5 overtime win over the Oilers.

“It just shows our resilience in this space,” said the Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog said. “Of course you invest a lot of work to get better as a team, but also to prepare for situations like this. That’s why it’s important throughout the year not to take any nights off.

“I think the bottom line is, if you have a chance to knock out a team and eliminate them, you want to do that. Getting fourth is never easy, as we saw in Nashville (5-3 win in May). 9) and as we saw last night. It’s never an easy task but the guys stayed focused and we were able to do it and it feels good.”

Despite the success, Landeskog said the Avalanche only allow themselves a few days to enjoy their performance.

“It’s important to enjoy the journey and enjoy the moment,” said Landeskog. Apparently, [we’re] keeping our focus on the main goal. We all know what that is. I’m proud of the group and proud of what we’ve achieved so far, but we’re not done yet. I think you flip the switch pretty quickly.

“Once we show up for training we need to put in some work, keep up our intensity and fine-tune some things. Before we know our opponent, we still have work to do.”

Bednar said the longer the Eastern Final lasts, the more time he and his staff have to prepare for the next opponent.

“You watch the game, try to pick up what you can and see how other coaches handle their teams in different situations,” Bednar said. “Then we’ll get into the video and analysis, probably while we’re going on here because we’ve got some time and we don’t know what the schedule will bring or how long this series is going to be. But we will put a lot of effort into this and keep an eye on both teams here as they move forward.”

The additional time out also gives players a chance to heal themselves. Forward Nazem Kadri (Game 3) and Andrew Cogliano (Game 4) each suffered an undisclosed injury in the conference finals. Kadri has 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 13 games this postseason; Cogliano has two goals and one assist in 11 games.

“We have a couple of guys who are a bit broken,” Bednar said. “[Cogliano’s] off for the time being, similar situation as with Kadri. We’ll see how things go and what his time frame will be. We’re not really sure about any of these guys yet and what the schedule is going to be.”

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