The Colorado Avalanche, who were happy with the Presidents’ Cup and the home ice it provided, aren’t blind to baby-step aspirations.
Another thing checked off the list was a 7-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday. The previous two seasons, Colorado had lost Game 1 of the second round, both of which culminated in a Game 7 loss.
“It’s not about advancing to the third round or getting past Game 7 for us,” said captain Gabriel Landeskog. “Winning the Stanley Cup is the goal, and here is another chance to accomplish so.”
Since 2002, the team has never moved past the second round. The Avalanche nearly broke the streak in 2019, bringing the Sharks to a Game 7 in San Jose.
The outcome was influenced by a bizarre sequence. Landeskog misjudged a line change and stayed in front of the boards for two seconds too long, one skate on the blue line. The Avalanche finally lost 3-2 after Colin Wilson’s game-tying goal was found to be offside.
Landeskog added, “I think you only have to get burned on that once to learn that lesson.”
He later reflected that he “should have just dove head-first over the boards.”
Landeskog remarked, “Listen, it was in the past.” “I believe that in every game, but especially in a playoff game, the devil is in the details. You must be razor-sharp on everything in Game 7.”
The Avalanche were on the verge of missing the playoffs the next season after injuries to several important players, including Landeskog and two goaltenders. They made it to Game 7, but fell 5-4 in overtime to the Dallas Stars.
The bid to end the second-round drought in 2021 is off to a good start.
Defenseman Ryan Graves remarked, “We’re absolutely not taking this chance lightly.” “This is a circumstance in which we must proceed with caution. We may not always have access to such possibilities. We only have a limited number of years with this group.
“We recognise that we may have squandered an opportunity last year, and we will not make the same mistake this year. We’re going to give it our all.”
Reaves will play in two games.
Following his match penalty in Game 1 for retaliating against Graves, Vegas forward Ryan Reaves was suspended for two games. Graves was taken down and pinned to the ice by Reaves’ body weight. Roughing and unsportsmanlike behaviour were mentioned in a video broadcast by NHL Player Safety, and it was highlighted that Reaves had previously been reprimanded.
Coach Jared Bednar said Graves and Samuel Girard, who took a high hit, were fine.
He said, “Everyone made it through yesterday night alright.”
The suspension of Kadri has been upheld.
On Monday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman reinstated the eight-game suspension of Avalanche player Nazem Kadri. The Department of Player Safety fined Kadri for an illegal head check on St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk in Game 2 of the first round on May 19.
According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN and RDS, the NHLPA has filed an appeal on Kadri’s behalf with neutral discipline arbiter Shyam Das.