The Colorado Avalanche boarded the team flight for Northern California on Tuesday before the decisive Game 7 against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday.
Here is what some players and head coach Jared Bednar had to say prior to traveling.
Colorado Defenseman Erik Johnson
On Experience With Game 7: "It was kind of similar, I mean last game was sort of a Game 7 mentality for us. We knew if we lost we were going home, so we played in Game 7, 2014 against Minnesota. I played in a gold medal game in 2010 against Canada in the Olympics, so I have some experience to rely on and I think all the pressure is on them. They're at home, they were favored in the series, so for us we're just going to go in, embrace the underdog role and have some fun with it."
On Teams Alternating Wins This Series: "I just think that's kind of how some series shake out, I don't think there's anything behind it. It's been an even series, back and forth series and for us, it's been a fun, good experience to get to the second round and it would be even more fun to get to the Western Final."
On The Team's Defining Quality: "Probably resiliency. I think we were five points out after the Anaheim game in March and no one probably gave us much of a shot. We lost Mikko and Landy to some injuries for an extended period of time and I don't think anyone gave us a shot either, but we just kept grinding away, finding a way to win and a team with their backs against the wall is sometimes a scary team to play against. For us, we just took it a game at a time and believed in ourselves and it doesn't really matter externally what anyone thinks about you. It's about what you believe about yourself and your team and that's what we've done and that's why we've been successful."
Colorado Defenseman Ian Cole
On Game 7: "I think that the difficulties and the pressures of a Game 7 are very similar to what's kind of happened throughout the course of the playoffs. Every time, certainly in this series, as the series goes, that desperation, that execution level that's needed has to rise, right? In Game 7, an elimination game for both teams, that desperation is going to be at an all-time high and we just need to match it."
On The Team's Playoffs Experience: "I think especially last night, we showed a level of resiliency that I think everyone in our locker room knew was there, but I think that a lot of people on the outside didn't really see until playoffs. Any time you can show that type of resiliency and stick to the game plan and no matter what happens, continue to keep playing and stay positive, you've got a chance to win every game, so we're just going to try to take that into Game 7."
On The Team's Chances in Game 7: "I think that everyone on our team is very confident in who we have, the personnel we have and the game plan that we have and our ability to stay resilient and stay within that gameplan. All those things, I think makes for certainly a lot of confidence heading into Game 7."
Colorado Head Coach Jared Bednar
On The Team Bouncing Back: "I think it is definitely something that you build over time. It's trust in your teammates, trust in the way you have to play to have success. Once you have success in a couple different situations, I think your confidence grows in that. Certainly the stretch run and all of those must-win games, and having some big, important ones here in the playoffs that we needed to win as well. I think it gives our guys confidence. We just keep encouraging our guys to sort of dig deeper and keep finding out more about themselves as individuals and as a group and I think we saw another step in that last night."
On Game 7's: "I'll tell you this, it's not going to be much different than it was for us last night. It's another elimination game for us. I kind of put Game 4 in that same category, I felt like we needed to win and not be trailing going back to San Jose 3-1. Obviously, no team in this series has been able to win back-to-back, and we have to do be able to do that tomorrow night in San Jose. It's a tough building to go in and play. I felt that their team had more desperation than us in Game 5. Maybe we had a little bit of an edge there last night. Now you're going to see both teams play desperate hockey, so it should be a real fun one. I don't see much difference for us compared to our game last night."
On Playing Desperate Hockey: "I think you look at some of the games we played down the stretch, the games we needed to win, these couple in the playoffs, it's brought the best out of our team, so that gives me confidence going into tomorrow night. We know it's going to be a really tough game, our guys have stepped up and I think we can do it again tomorrow night. I think our guys believe in that, so the sky is the limit."