Following Tuesday’s morning skate, Avalanche head coach Joel Quenneville shed some light on the question currently occupying everyone’s thoughts. Quenneville stated that Peter Forsberg is “likely” to play tonight against the Minnesota Wild in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
The Avalanche coach also said the quick turnaround between Games 3 and 4 could have a positive effect on his club following last night’s tough overtime loss.
“The nice thing is it’s a short turnaround here. It’s over; we’ve got to move on,” said Quenneville. “It’s a big game and a big challenge. We should have a lot of energy when the puck is dropped and a purpose in our home building. We have to take advantage of being at home.”
Quenneville also hinted that there probably won’t be too many lineup changes during tonight’s contest, although he did say defenseman Jordan Leopold was a “strong option” for Game 4.
“We’ll see,” Quenneville said in regards to his lineup. “It will likely be very close to what you’ve seen the last couple of games.” Watch Quenneville's press conference here
With all three games of their Western Conference Quarterfinal Series being decided in overtime, the Avs have seen first-hand that sometimes a single play – including a bounce or deflection, in your favor or in that of the opposition – can be the difference between a win and a loss.
But Andrew Brunette says the biggest adjustment the Avs need to make is to tighten up the screws a bit when they have an advantage.
“It’s been a game of bounces and it’s tough to lose at home. The really tough thing is that we’ve been a little too loose with the lead,” said Brunette. “At the same time, I don’t think last night was our best game. I think we have a little more in us and we need it for tonight.”
With playoff hockey comes intense physical play, something which Avalanche assistant captain Ian Laperriere knows well. The gritty forward has often been charged with going up against the Wild’s top players – including Marian Gaborik and Pavol Demitra – in an effort to throw Minnesota’s most dangerous offensive threats off their games. Thus, Laperriere isn’t surprised that Forsberg has been on the receiving end of some physicality courtesy of the Wild.
“It’s playoffs. It’s nothing unusual,” said Laperriere. “Peter knows they’re playing that way and they know that. They want to get under his skin; I’ve been on the other side and that’s what you want to do against a Peter Forsberg. That’s what you want to do against a Joe Sakic. That’s what we want to do against Gaborik and Demitra. That’s playoff hockey.”