The Colorado Avalanche held a team practice on Wednesday before heading to Calgary. The team takes on the Flames in Game 1 of its first-round Stanley Cup Playoffs series on Thursday.
Below are some select quotes from head coach Jared Bednar's post-practice media availability.
Head Coach Jared Bednar
On Mikko Rantanen's Return: "He's back."
On If Rantanen Will Play On A Line With Carl Soderberg : "Yes."
On The Benefit Of Splitting Up TheTop Line: "I think there's a couple. I think you look at what they've done against us in the past with the Backlund, Tkachuk and Frolik line against MacKinnon just gives us some depth on some other lines that I think, hopefully, we can take advantage of."
On The Importance of Discipline: "We've talked about it. Penalties in general, especially in this series, they are the--I think I'm correct in this--we draw the most penalties in the league and they draw the second most. So, they have a dangerous power play. Power plays this time of the year are at a premium so we got to be careful with reaching in, chasing from behind. So, good defensive posture all over the ice is real important so we're not chasing plays and coming from bad ice to try and defend. It also gives the other team's opposition, their best players, a chance to get in a rhythm and start feeling it offensively if you put them on the power play. Especially guys like Gaudreau, Monahan, Lindholm, you don't want to put those guys on the ice with the extra man just because they're so dangerous even 5-on-5. You don't want to give them those opportunities, you'd like them to get frustrated a little bit it in the way you're playing. Check them hard and part of that is being disciplined and making sure we're using our legs to check.
On Confidence Gained From Goaltender Philipp Grubauer : "He's given us a chance to win every night. I think it's a pretty special run he went on here at the end of the year, and we'd like to see that continue into the playoffs. I think our team is real confident in him in net, and I think it frees us up to go play our game. We have to continue to play our game and be an aggressive team and be a hard-skating, play-with-pace type of team. When you have a goaltender that can cover up some of your mistakes then you can continue to go. I think it puts the other teams under duress a little bit and causes turnovers. So, we have to continue to do that. Even though Calgary has a similar mindset, it's going to be the team that makes the least amount of mistakes and goaltending can sure help cover that up."
On Pace At Home Versus On The Road: "We want to play the same way. I think that's the goal on any team. You don't want to get sitting back on the road, you don't want to play it safe. In order to create enough chances to win the hockey game, I think you have to be in your face and a puck-pressure team and that's what we've been basing this system on for years now."
On How Right Wing Mikko Rantanen Has Looked In Practice: "He looks good. He's been working hard, no different than Landy (left wing Gabriel Landeskog) when he was out for a stretch of time. I think Shawn's (skills coach Shawn Allard) done a real nice job with all the injured guys, getting them ready to play and play at a high level when they come back. It's a whole new level of intensity and competitiveness come playoff time. He's well aware of that, and I think that he's been ramping up nicely. He looks better and better and quicker and quicker every day he's on the ice. So, you know, we'll see how he does tomorrow in the games and adjust his ice time from there. But I expect him to play a lot, just like he normally does."