The Colorado Avalanche came back from being down a goal midway through the third period and scored twice in the final five minutes to defeat the Nashville Predators 2-1 in Game 5 of the clubs' first-round series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Friday.
Here are Avs head coach Jared Bednar's thoughts after the come-from-behind victory.
On winning Game 5: "That was big. I mean a lot of heart from our guys, tight-checking game, hard-fought game for two periods. Right at the end of the second period they had that extended shift, and we got out of it without them scoring and ended up taking a penalty and then they came at us again early in the third and they made a play to the net and got one off the shin pad there off the skate. Not much time left and hard to fight for chances I thought throughout the whole game for our group, and we come out and find a way. A lot of heart by our guys, pretty happy by what they did there, especially in the third period."
On attacking to the net: "I felt like there was times tonight on the rush attack that we stopped our feet over the red line or over the blue line, and we didn't keep our feet churning and finishing to the net the way we like to do and we did pass up some chances. Things will close up quickly on you in the slot area and inside the dots and we had some pucks in there that we didn't fire right away, and we didn't do a great job finishing our routes to the net either. Ironically, the big boys were pretty quiet tonight offensively for a good portion of the game, and we just kept telling them on the bench its 0-0, it's just one play, it's the team that makes the one play first is probably going to be the team that ends up winning this. We fell down and those guys made a big play on a great shift and great pressure. Then the game-winning goal too, we finally finished hard to the net, shot the puck and stopped at the net for a rebound and got rewarded for it."
On Nashville's goal: "I think it was a good call, it hit him in the skate or shin, but there was no kicking motion there. We were pretty sure that that was going to count right away, I think it's a good call."
On goaltender Andrew Hammond's play: "That's what we are hoping for. He comes in, he is an experienced guy. I loved his demeanor the last couple days when he knew he was going to take over. I gained some confidence in him just the way he handled the last couple days, I know our guys did as well and everyone is hoping for the best. Good for him. I mean he comes in here and the shots were tight and the chances were tight after two periods, but when they opened it up in the third period there, they had 20-plus shots and a bunch of real good looks, he was strong. The only one they got was off the rebound that hit him in the shin pad, so good for him. I am happy for him. I am proud of him, and he has waited a long time this year for this opportunity and he is making the most of it."
On the series momentum changing now that it is 3-2: "I don't know that it does to be honest with you. We know who we are facing, we know they are a good team and you got to play your best hockey to beat them. Going home I think the advantage with our guys is we are real confident in what we are doing at home and have been all year, so we are looking forward to getting back and playing in front of our fans. I think that's a big thing, we started well at home and we have continued to play well at home, even in the playoffs. I am glad our guys get another opportunity to play in our building in front of our fans, it will be fun."
On Samuel Girard returning to the lineup: "He was good, he was good skating. I liked him a lot again tonight. I though Nemeth had a really good night too on the backend, moved the puck well, saw the open outlet. Simple but he was getting us in and out of our zone too, and he had a couple huge blocks to prevent scoring chances as well."