The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Friday at Bridgestone Arena in a must-win Game 5. The victory cuts Nashville's lead in the first-round series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to 3-2.
The Avs stayed in Nashville after Game 5 and held a media-availability session at the airport after they arrived back in Denver on Saturday afternoon. Head coach Jared Bednar, forwards Gabriel Landeskog and Sven Andrighetto and goaltender Andrew Hammond discussed Friday's win and another must-win Game 6.
Here is what they had to say.
Left Wing Gabriel Landeskog
On Colorado's play after Nashville took a 1-0 lead in Game 5:
"For us, like we have talked about, we got nothing to lose. We don't have any more pressure on ourselves than what we put on ourselves really. So, for us it's just a matter of making sure we leave it all out there. Game is not over until the final buzzer goes and at that point it's just a one-goal game. We keep playing and that's what we are going to keep on doing."
On what is helping Colorado have success:
"Maybe our youth a little bit, maybe some guys don't realize the size of the moment. But for us, it's just a matter of being aggressive, having that swagger and playing with that confidence and at the same time going out there and playing hard. That's the way we have had success in the past, by working hard and all season long that's something that's been a staple to our game and that's something that we got to keep doing."
On his production in the playoffs:
"I think this time of year everybody wants to step up, everybody wants to play better. I think for me, personally, missing the postseason a handful of years now, I know how hard it is at this point to get to the playoffs. You just want to make sure you leave it all out there and that can be said for a lot of guys in our dressing room. Production or not, I think a lot of guys have stepped up and I think that's a big key for our success so far."
On another elimination game in Game 6:
"A lot of hard work left, but obviously it's a big win last night for the momentum in the series and for our confidence. We know that we don't want to lose two in a row here at the Pepsi Center so it's going to be a fun one tomorrow night."
Video: Gabriel Landeskog looks ahead to Game 6
Goaltender Andrew Hammond
On being calm entering Game 5:
"You go into it with confidence and I have that going into the game. I prepared properly, and when you prepare properly I think that in itself will give you confidence. Then it's just going out and executing, and I was able to do that fortunately."
On staying focused after Nashville took a 1-0 lead:
"It's something that I have seen time and time again this year, whenever the team seems to get in a hole or their back is against a wall they seem to respond in the best way possible. Last night, getting the goal scored it seemed like we had a little more determination to get one and fortunately we got two in regulation to win it. But backs against the wall in an elimination game, seems to bring out the best in us again."
On his saves in the final minutes of Game 5:
"Guys are battling in the corner and when they are doing that the puck is kind of tied up. You are trying to make a read where if it kind of springs loose where it could go. Nashville tends to get a lot of action through the middle of the ice and just able to make a good read on that and get my body in front of it."
On his perseverance this season:
"I won't lie, there's days where you had wondered whether it would happen again for you but as cliché as it is you stick to the process, you keep trying to get better. Fortunately it worked out last night, we are not satisfied though. We want to keep going and win tomorrow night and extend the series and go back to Nashville and play another meaningful hockey game."
Video: Andrew Hammond discusses his Game 5 performance
Right Wing Sven Andrighetto
On resetting for Game 6:
"We enjoyed the win obviously last night real quick, quick turnaround. Now we are flying back here, and we got to get ready for the game tomorrow. That's playoffs, you have a game every second day almost and that's the fun part."
On Colorado's perseverance in Game 5:
"When we got to 1-0 there in the 10th minute it wasn't bothering us. We kept believing in ourselves like we did the whole time, and it's been huge all season for us. The belief in this group has been amazing, and we knew we would come back and we did just in time."
On his game-winning goal in Game 5:
"We saw we had a broken 2-on-1. He was trying to take the passing lane away so I figured Comph was going to shoot it, which he did. I was just trying to be ready for the rebound if it pops there and it was there, and I got a whack at it and it went in."
On playing tight games:
"We started to get comfortable with a 0-0 game, which is huge for us. We haven't done that all year, it was a learning experience. But we stick to our game plan for the full 60 minutes and at the end of the game it was the right thing."
Video: Sven Andrighetto on the Avs' Game 5 win
Head Coach Jared Bednar
On his team's calmness on the tying goal in Game 5:
"I mean it was an impressive goal. I think we put together a couple good shifts there. I think the Soderberg line went out, we had a couple shots on net from the point, we had some traffic to the net, some extended zone time. Then the MacKinnon line went out and kind of got them running around a little bit, they were hanging onto pucks, moving their feet. It started with a couple of shots to the net, a couple retrievals. We had D pinching on both sides of the rink and then Mikko got it, real good poise, slips it to MacK and MacK again, the poise and calmness and the presence of mind to work into a shooting area and then still hang onto it a little bit longer, and Landy to stay at the net, just an all-around good play. Well thought out and guys did the right things and they got rewarded for it. For most of the night, they had some chances, but I thought their first line, our first line, a little quiet offensively. It was a pretty tight-checking game through it and at 0-0, it's one play that will win you the game. You kind of had the feeling that those guys were going to step up at some point, and they certainly did on that goal."
On defensive play helping spur the game-winning goal:
"And even previous to that, they had it behind the net and came out from behind the net and our wings were headed to the walls for the breakout, and Gabriel Bourque stops and our wings kind of came right into the house and protected the house, had some good sticks, it pops out again, and then Tys did the exact same thing, sends those guys on their way. Real good job defensively, leads to an offensive chance and kind of skate us out of holes in our own end. Good to see on that rush, too. J.T. keeps driving his feet and skating, and we passed up on some of those shots earlier in the game, and he rips it into an area where he can score and also get a rebound for Andrighetto, and he does a nice job delaying his route to the net and stopping by the post and he gets an empty-net chip shot there. A real good play."
On winning two elimination games in two weeks:
"I hope we're getting the hang of it. We have not choice, we're playing another one tomorrow. I've liked the way we responded. Staying focused yesterday after their go-ahead goal was big. I think you look back at Game 4 and what we did in the third period of Game 4 and started to charge. Down 3-0, that should have given us a little bit of confidence last night that we had 10 minutes remaining, nine in change, that if we come out and sort of elevate our game and get on the attack that we would create a chance or two to have a chance to tie it or go ahead. And that's what happened. Our guys should feel good about that, what we're doing. I would like to see a little bit of that urgency again earlier in the game, but it's a 60-minute game and the only score that matters is the one at the end."
On swapping Sven Andrighetto and Colin Wilson on lines:
"I don't really name it first, second, third, fourth (line). I thought all those players are playing real well for us, OK, so we had a real speedy line that I thought was lacking a little bit of grit and sand paper and wall battle presence and ability to keep pucks alive. So what we did was that we flipped Wilson and then put Bourque on the other line, so we have some speedy guys and some skill, and we have two bigger guys, harder, grinding guys that would play in traffic a little bit and like to go to the net and have a net-from presence. So we tried to balance both of those lines, and both of those lines were really good last night. I think we're getting all four lines right now, and you need to this time of year and especially when you're playing the Preds."
On playing low-scoring games:
"It's invaluable. I think the whole experience of what we're going through, our youth especially, the grind and the focus and the preparation it takes to be on your game every night and playing in elimination games and staying with it. We lose Game 4, and it's moving past that. All of these lessons that we're learning, falling down and staying focused and coming out with a win last night, those are things that you don't forget as a player or as a coach. You need that to mature. You're going to go through some heartbreaks, and you got to turnaround. Game 4 was a tough loss for us, we respond last night. Now we got to do the same thing, put that one behind us, learn from it and move on and get focused for Game 6. I think the more our guys can continue to learn that, especially this time of year, the more it's going to help the future of this organization."
On this team staying focused:
"A lot of character and they're learning how to win. I think that is what you need. If you're going to win, at some point enjoy your wins and struggle through your losses and then turn the page. I think that is what our guys are learning. It starts with our leadership. I think Landy is doing a real nice job there, MacK, Combs, some of our experienced guys. Even Hammy, coming in--that was one of the biggest games he's had in his career I'm sure, and he stands on his head. Talking to him, he's already moved past it and looking forward to tomorrow. I think that approach is a winning approach, and it's what we're going to have to do. We have to learn from what we did in Game 3 and then came out a little slow in Game 4. We can't do that again because we're facing elimination."