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Landeskog Creating Scoring Chances, Confident Goals Will Come

Despite not scoring yet, the forward has helped create others for teammates

by Zach Shapiro / ColoradoAvalanche.com

Gabriel Landeskog hovered near the net late in the first period of Game 4 against the Arizona Coyotes, stationed in goalie Darcy Kuemper's line of sight with the Colorado Avalanche looking to extend its lead to 2-0. Mikko Rantanen then fired a one-timer and Landeskog was there to nudge a rebound right onto the stick of Nazem Kadri, who flicked the puck into an open net.

The play served as a microcosm of Landeskog's offensive impact during this first-round series so far. While the Colorado captain didn't score in the Avs' 7-1 win on Monday--he does have six points, all assists, this postseason--he was creating opportunities and keeping scoring opportunities alive.

"He impacts the game in a lot of different ways, not just getting on the score sheet," said head coach Jared Bednar of Landeskog on Tuesday, adding that the forward has been "really good" in the playoffs. "One of our goals is to make sure we're getting to the net on Kuemper, making it difficult for him to make saves. And you take the two (power-play) goals, I believe both of them last night, he's right in front of Kuemper. So he's in there, creating chaos, getting in the goalie's eyes… It's just one of the little things that he does for us."

Video: COL@ARI, Gm4: Landeskog sets up Kadri's PPG

Striking a more blunt tone on Saturday, Landeskog basically said as much when asked after Game 3 if he was frustrated about being held without a goal.

"I'm not too worried about it," said Landeskog, clearly more disappointed by the 4-2 loss than his personal stats. "I try to do my best every shift to contribute to the team in other ways as well. Obviously I would like to put the puck in the net, but I know it's going to come."

His other stats speak to that assessment. Landeskog is second on the team with six assists through seven games, and he's been on the ice for 13 goals between power-play and even-strength play.

If the regular season is an indication, then as he said, the goals will come too. In 54 games, Landeskog tallied 21 times, second-most on the team.

Bednar's also confident that if the left wing stays the course, namely by crowding the net and sustaining plays, then he'll be rewarded similarly in the playoffs.

"The goals will come if he continues to play the power-forward game that we're used to seeing from him," Bednar said.

The Avs coach then noted Landeskog's performance in Game 3. While he didn't record a point, his effort nonetheless proved to be a silver lining in the Avs only loss of the series.

"He was one of the best players we had on the ice," Bednar said. "Our whole team was going at Arizona, we're down a goal, and he kind of took charge. He's had multiple scoring opportunities, he just hasn't been able to find the net, which isn't easy to do when you're playing against Kuemper. They'll come for him eventually if he continues to play the right way, which he has."

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