Avalanche rest, reset during long break before Stanley Cup Final

CENTENNIAL, Colorado– The Colorado Avalanche can’t wait for the Stanley Cup Finals, even if they have to wait until Wednesday or Saturday to host Game 1 at the Ball Arena in Denver.

“There’s obviously a lot of excitement,” forward Logan O’Connor said Friday. “You know, that’s what you play for, that’s what you dream of as a kid, so everyone’s really looking forward to the opportunity.”

The Avalanche defeated the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Finals Monday with a 6-5 victory in overtime at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

The Tampa Bay Lightning lead the New York Rangers 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals and enter Game 6 Saturday (8:00 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS) at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.

If the Lightning win Game 6, the cup final begins on Wednesday. If the Rangers win Game 6, Game 7 of the Eastern Final will take place on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in New York and the Cup Final will begin on Saturday.

[RELATED: 2022 Stanley Cup Final schedule]

The Avalanche players are not yet studying Lightning and Rangers closely.

“I know I’m not paying too much attention,” said the defender Devon Toews said. “It’s usually just running in the background while I’m making dinner and hanging out with my family. I think most guys at least tune in. I don’t know how much guys are into that and we’ll do our deep dive when we figure out who we’re playing.”

With an eight- or 11-day break between games, the Avalanche have set a schedule of two days of practice and one day off every three days.

Toews and forward Andre Burakowski and Gabriel Landeskog returned to the ice on Friday after maintenance days on Thursday. defender Josh Manson took another maintenance day on Friday. Forward Andrew Cogliano and Nazem Kadri each stayed outside to recover from hand surgery.

“It wasn’t bad today,” Toews said. “I think our guys dialed in quite a bit. We got some 5v5 stuff in today that the guys didn’t get yesterday. I think our boys are ready to go and we’re excited, but we’re going to take the rest too. You can’t really hope for a certain number or a set number of days off before you start playing again, so take it we just do it day by day. We use these days to recover and start over. “

Video: SAP Stat of the Night: Too much free time?

O’Connor said the Avalanche needed to focus on the process and what made them succeed. They are 12-2 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“We cannot deviate from what has brought us to this point,” O’Connor said. “I think that’s the biggest message. We’re here for a reason and we have to continue to play the way we’ve always done when the opportunity comes up in a game and I think we can have a lot of success with that.”

It helped Friday that the stands at the Family Sports Center, the Avalanche practice track about 30 minutes southeast of Ball Arena, were packed with fans on a morning when the temperature was already 80 degrees. The Avalanche have reached the cup final for the first time since winning the cup in 2001.

“We’re really thankful that some people are finding a way to go to the hockey rink,” said the goaltender Pavel Françouz said. “I mean you can lie by the pool in this weather so we really appreciate that. I think it’s fun. We always work hard in training but I feel like when there are some people in the stands you want to make sure you don’t get lazy or something.”

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