The Colorado Avalanche takes on the San Jose Sharks tonight in Game 7 of their second-round series. The team held a pregame practice this morning at SAP Center before the decisive clash.
Here is what some players and head coach Jared Bednar had to say following morning skate.
Colorado Head Coach Jared Bednar
On Using The Same Lineup: "There are aspects of it that I really like for us up front. It gets all of our forwards into the game, and that is what we want. So they know they're going out, there is no room to hide, you can't have an off night. Usually we're more engaged when we play 11 forwards up front as a whole. It's a little bit tougher on the back end for those guys, but I think they understand the situation. It worked, we got a real good player in Nemeth coming in, so we're going to go with the same lineup."
On The Team's Excitement: "That is exactly what we want them to feel. The pressure comes from worrying about the end result and being excited about it means they're process oriented. They're looking at it as an opportunity for us to go and play a real good hockey game against a real good team in a Game 7 and go have some fun. That is what we want them to do. There will be some nerves, certainly, but we don't want them to be anxious or worried about the result of the hockey game. We want them to play our best hockey, similar to the message we had last game."
On Game 7: "It's an elimination game. It's exactly the same as the last game we just played. I think the team has to play with a high intensity, a high urgency level. We saw in Game 5, they had a little more desperation than our team did. I thought we pushed our level of desperation and urgency up in Game 6, we were able to get the win."
Video: Jared Bednar before Game 7 against the Sharks
Colorado Center Colin Wilson
On The Team's Confidence: "Very confident. We like our group, we're proud of ourselves for getting ourselves one game away from the Western Conference Championship. Lot of confidence, we got a great team in here."
On The Significance Of Playoffs: "It means a lot. I think this team has come a long way and the talent is showing up and being displayed on a bigger stage. It would mean a lot to the team and the organization to have a chance to win the cup."
Video: Colin Wilson on Game 7 in San Jose
Colorado Left Wing Gabriel Landeskog
On The Team's Attitude: "We're trying to embrace what we've done so far this season and want to keep this thing going. You're not going to get a trophy for getting knocked out in the second round. For us, we probably know that we've exceeded some expectations this year but we want to go all the way. For us, we're not happy just being here and participating--we want to keep doing damage, I guess, and keep going."
On Playoffs: "Now you really know what people are talking about. How you're in it, you go on a run and obviously, we want to keep this thing going. People say all of a sudden you miss it, how devastating it is to miss the playoffs, now you really know what it's like. First few years, I never made the playoffs, I didn't know what I was missing. Now, you get a taste of it and how different the hockey is and how much better the hockey is, and now everything's on the line every single shift and every play matters. This is what you play for, this is what you dream of doing and no better way of doing it than going out here and doing your job in Game 7."
Video: Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog before Game 7
Colorado Right Wing Mikko Rantanen
On Game 7: "It's going to be a lot of fun. There's always big pressure but hopefully I think it's mostly on the home team tonight. Just go and play and enjoy."
On His Attitude: "I don't think it's too different [of a] game. It's Game 7--winner goes to the next round, loser goes home--but, I think the game is still the same. It's playoff hockey and it's just the seventh game of the series. It's no different than 3 or 4. It's still the same excitement."
On How He's Feeling: "Feeling good, I'll be ready to play tonight. Big hit, have to be ready on those. He (San Jose D Brent Burns) crushed Calvy (Colorado Left Wing Matt Calvert) earlier in the series. So, have to be ready when you cut middle. He didn't get me full, I got out of the way a little so that was good."
Video: Mikko Rantanen on how he is feeling before Game 7
Colorado Left Wing Matt Nieto
On Facing Elimination: "Our backs were against the wall last game, it's the same situation tonight. We've been through it before and everyone in here is loose and excited to go."
On Pressure: "I don't think anyone in this room feels the pressure of the game. We feel like the pressure is on them. We're here to have fun and try to take this Game 7 and move on to the Conference Final. Like I said, everyone in here is excited and it's a great opportunity for our group."
Video: Matt Nieto on facing San Jose in Game 7