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Avs Looking For Power Of Positivity

by Ryan Boulding @rboulding / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The power of positivity is something the Colorado Avalanche is looking to embrace.

The team has had its ebbs and flows this season, and it would be easy for the players to become deflated anytime something goes against them.

Yet they're working on a strategy of believing in themselves and their teammates and what they can accomplish when they work together, and that factored heavily in Colorado's 3-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday at Pepsi Center.

"When we're in a positive locker room, everybody's thinking the right way and helping each other along," netminder Calvin Pickard said of the situation. "That positive reinforcement goes a long way on the ice, off the ice, on the bench, and we need to continue that."

Video: Pregame interview with Calvin Pickard

The Avs worked together, believed together and won together as a unit, and that kind of mental focus is exactly what head coach Jared Bednar is expecting to see from his club both on Thursday as the team squares off against the visiting New Jersey Devils and throughout the remainder of the 2016-17 season.

"I think it's really important, especially this time of the year for us and where we're at, to break our season down on a nightly basis and feel like we can come out and win and be refreshed and have that attitude that we can come out and win on any night if we play at the top of our game," Bednar said Thursday morning. "I felt that our guys believed it the other night against Carolina, and hopefully that gives us a little bit of confidence. We got to start building some confidence here so we believe that every night, and tonight will be another challenge for us. Responding after a win is going to be real important here, especially on this homestand." 

The Avs are looking to carry over their momentum and good feelings from Tuesday's win into Thursday's game. The team effort, from the top players through the supporting cast and down to the goaltender, was exactly what was needed and is required to produce wins.

"It was a complete last game, and we've had that every now and then. When we do that, when everyone plays their game, we can beat anybody. We have a lot of talent in this room, and we just want to build that consistency," Pickard said. "It's not fun losing as much as we have this year, but going forward we have to get some wins and some success. That's how you build confidence, and we have to play our game. When we play our game, we can compete with anybody. 

"We want to get some consistency going forward. That last game, there's no reason why we can't do that every night. We know where we're at right now, and it's not where we want to be, but there's nothing we can do about it. We just have to look forward every night and play our game and work and get some confidence going into next year."

Video: Coach Bednar before Avs vs. Devils 

Another aspect the Avalanche will be focusing on when the puck drops against the Devils is reducing the amount of individual infractions committed. The squad is giving away more power plays than its earning, and that's been an issue all year.

"We haven't been drawing a lot of penalties. We take our fair share. We're trying to cut that number down. That's been an issue for us in and out through the course of the season," said Bednar. "We've improved in a lot of areas… defensively. Our struggles come more lately after we do a good job defensively. Our ability to move the puck or sometimes our inability to move the puck cleanly out of the zone; we've had some turnovers that have come back on us. It's decisions. It's making sure we're making hard plays and making sure we're sprinting to the right spots for our breakouts after we do the job defensively. So hopefully we can keep improving on that moving forward to the end of the year."

Bednar isn't quick to mess with his current winning formula and therefore won't be making any roster changes for Thursday's contest. 

"The lineup is going to stay the same, with Pick back in net tonight," he said. "A good solid team effort last game… we'll see if we can't repeat the performance.

"We had really good energy, a good positive bench and I think carried over into our game. Even though we fell behind early, we were able to stick with our game. It took us almost 40 minutes to get the goals, but we were lucky enough to get two back-to-back there and take the lead into the third period, and we did a good job of locking it down in the third. Similar team we're playing tonight, so hopefully we can come out and do the exact same thing."

  

PROJECTED LINEUP

Gabriel Landeskog-Nathan MacKinnon-Rene Bourque

Sven Andrighetto-Matt Duchene-Mikko Rantanen

John Mitchell-J.T. Compher-Blake Comeau

Mikhail Grigorenko-Carl Soderberg-Matt Nieto

 

Mark Barberio-Erik Johnson

Fedor Tyutin-Tyson Barrie

Francois Beauchemin-Patrick Wiercioch

 

Calvin Pickard

Jeremy Smith

 

Scratches: Joe Colborne, Cody Goloubef.

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