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Morning Skate Report: Avs Look to Extend Series Lead

The Avalanche won 6-2 on Monday to lead the best-of-seven set 2-1

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele /

The Colorado Avalanche has a 2-1 lead in its first-round series with the Calgary Flames, and the team looks to build off its most recent performance to extend its advantage tonight.

The Avs dropped the first matchup of the best-of-seven set in Calgary, but they came back with a 3-2 overtime win in Game 2 on Saturday at Scotiabank Saddledome and skated to a 6-2 victory in Game 3 on Monday at Pepsi Center.

"I thought Game 2 was really good, I thought we played that really well, but again in Game 3 I thought we turned up the intensity a little more," said Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog. "Being here on home ice, it just seemed like we had that extra gear, and we need to find that again tonight."

Video: Gabe Landeksog talks about the Avs' Game 4 approach

The Avs outshot the Flames 56-29 in Game 3 and Colorado's 56 shots equaled the second-most in a playoff game in franchise history, one shy of the record (57) set in Game 4 of the 1996 Western Conference Semifinals at Chicago on May 8, 1996.

It was the most shots in a regulation playoff contest in franchise history and the most by an NHL team in a non-overtime contest since the Florida Panthers recorded 61 in a victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1996 Eastern Conference Final (May 24, 1996).

Colorado's six tallies were also the first time that the Avalanche scored six or more times in a postseason contest since Game 2 of the 2002 Western Conference Semifinals versus the San Jose Sharks (May 3, 2002, 8-2 win).

With Calgary behind in the series, Colorado is expecting that the Flames to increase their compete level and bring their best to the contest tonight with the hopes of avoiding going down 3-1 in the set.

"This is a huge game. I think they're going to be desperate to tie it up, but we got to be just as desperate to get that bigger series lead," said veteran forward Colin Wilson. "Things happen real quick, mentalities change quick, that's part of playoffs. This is just as big of a game for us.

"I think we have a good mentality in here. I think everybody's seeing it the same way. This is a huge game to go up 3-1 or [be tied] 2-2, so we're not taking it lightly. I'm sure we're going to come with the same mentality."

Video: Colin Wilson talks Avs-Flames Game 4

Colorado is 9-2 all-time in playoff series when taking a 3-1 series lead. The franchise is 11-9 all-time when splitting the first four games of a best-of-seven, with an 8-5 mark since moving to Denver.

"It's a big difference going to Calgary 2-2 or going there with a chance to end the series," said Landeskog. "We know how important this one is, I am sure the Flames know how important this one is. For us, we will make sure we come out with the same speed and same desperation."


The atmosphere at Pepsi Center in Game 3 helped ignite the Avalanche's offense in the first period of the contest, as the 18,000-plus fans in the arena were loud early and cheered often. 

"[The fans] certainly have an effect, think there's no question our guys enjoy playing at home," said Bednar. "The crowd the other night was amazing. It's hard not to get up for a game when your crowd's like that. You're hearing them chant even before we come out on the ice and the guys fed off of it and get a jump.

"Guys were skating, they were enthused right from the start of the game and the crowd plays a big part of it I think. When they're rooting you on in good times and bad, it makes the guys dig in and it certainly did that last game."

Video: Avs coach Jared Bednar before Game 4


Head coach Jared Bednar noted after Colorado's morning skate that both Samuel Girard (upper body) and Derick Brassard (illness) will be out of the lineup again tonight.

Girard was injured early in overtime of Game 2 at Calgary when he took a hit from Flames forward Sam Bennett. Girard skated in a red, non-contact jersey for part of today's on-ice session after also doing the same before an optional practice on Tuesday. 

Bednar said that Philipp Grubauer will be in net for the Avalanche in Game 4 and that there will be no changes to the backend, but there will be some game-time decisions to be made for the forwards.

VIEW: Avalanche vs. Flames Game 4 Projected Lineup


Once again, the Avalanche will host a special tailgate party, presented by Bud Light, outside of the west entrance of Pepsi Center before and during tonight's game. 

The event begins three hours prior to puck drop and will feature live music, food and drinks, as well as giveaways, including a pair of tickets to Game 4. 

Fans that do not have tickets to tonight's matchup are invited to stay at the tailgate during the contest and watch it on a big screen outside. Chairs and food are welcome, but drinks of any sort are prohibited.

The outing itself will be televised locally on Altitude and nationally in the United States on NBCSN. It will be broadcasted across Canada on CBC and TVA Sports.

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