After winning Game 2 in overtime on Saturday at Scotiabank Saddledome, the Colorado Avalanche returns home to host the Calgary Flames in Game 3 at Pepsi Center on Monday night. With the series tied 1-1, the next two games will be in Denver before Game 5 in Calgary on Friday.
Here is what some of the Avalanche players and head coach Jared Bednar had to say after morning skate.
Colorado Defenseman Cale Makar
On His New Teammates Applauding When He Stepped On The Ice: "It's pretty cool. It's a weird moment, I don't think it's really sunk in for me yet, but this is a great group of guys I can just tell, meeting everybody right off the bat."
On The Past Few Days: "It's been pretty crazy, I was supposed to fly out of Buffalo yesterday, but ended up getting re-routed to Toronto, so it's been a long travel day but I'm rested up and we'll see how everything goes."
On Starting His NHL Career In The Playoffs: "I don't think it is too much pressure, obviously if I play, it is what it is. You're going to feel a bunch of different emotions. You got to be prepared for that. You kind of live your life in order to get to this moment. It will be a fun one."
Video: Cale Makar after his first morning skate with the Avs
Colorado Defenseman Patrik Nemeth
On Game 2: "I thought we did a lot of good things, I thought we were playing more to our strengths, and I think we played our game more than we did in Game 1. We obviously want to keep going, work on all the little things that we've been talking about and get even better for the game tonight."
On Managing Calgary's Pressure: "We just have to match it or be even better. I think we have to play physical, we have to take charge and take control of the game and not sit around and wait for them to do it. I think that's what makes us a good team."
On Cale Makar Joining The Team: "It's just a morning skate so it's kind of hard to judge a player, but he looks really smooth and from what I've been hearing, he's a really good player so that's only good for our team to have another good player joining us and improving our depth."
Video: Nemeth on returning home for Game 3 vs. Flames
Colorado Center Tyson Jost
On Advice For Cale Makar: "I just said play your game. Don't kind of get awe-struck by the whole thing, I mean it's obviously tough. Your first game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, I remember my first game, I was nervous and it was [the end] of the regular season and we were already out of a playoff spot. Definitely a different circumstance for him, but he's such a good player that he'll excel no matter what, so I'm really happy for him and excited for him."
On Makar's Game: "He's very raw. Super gifted offensively and he's a great skater and I think some of you guys will be kind of be awe-struck at just how skilled he actually is. Reads the play good and I think that's just the one thing he has to do tonight is be aggressive and play his game. Do what he did in college and excel for sure."
On Doing Damage In The Playoffs: "It's just a different mentality than last year. I think last year in Nashville we were just kind of happy to be there and we were happy to make the playoffs. This year we really want to make a push and we had a great second game there in Calgary. Obviously, we're going to expect them to have a push back here, but we have our hometown fans behind us and it's going to be rocking in the Pepsi Center and I know we're excited. We're going to have to not be satisfied with our game there in Calgary and try and one-up that. It's going to be an awesome tilt tonight, so we're excited."
Video: Jost talks Cale Makar and Game 3 versus Calgary
Colorado Head Coach Jared Bednar
On Playing Cale Makar: "I thought through it. It's a big time of the year, it's a big decision, a young guy coming out of college. But what makes this decision easier is the type of player he is and the type of person he is and the type of year he had in college. He's a guy that we want to get into the lineup and see if he can help us. Tonight is a perfect opportunity to do that."
On What Makar Brings Offensively: "That is one of the strengths of his game, the way he moves the puck. The way he shoots the puck, great vision. I don't see why he can't come in and step right in and help that."
On Makar Managing Expectations: "He's a smart kid. I talked to him this morning. He understands that it is going to be a completely different level stepping up into the NHL and when you're joining a series like this, mid-series against a real good team in Calgary, it's not going to be easy. He understands that and just encouraging him to play his game and we'll talk to him a little bit throughout the game and see what we see. I want to give him some information so he is up to speed on how we play, on what the series has looked like, but I don't want to give him too much where we freeze him up. I want him to go play and use his instincts. That's what he's been great at his whole life. I don't see tonight as any different. But it is definitely going to be a step up for him. He's an intense guy, he's a great skater, he goes to work, so that is all we can ask for."
Video: Bednar on returning home for Game 3 and Cale Makar
On Makar Managing Emotions: "It's been a whirlwind for him. Thursday they played and they won, and then the Hobey Baker Friday and then the Championship game Saturday and here he is flying in yesterday after getting signed and getting thrown right into the lineup. My first conversation with him was that's in the past and now we have to focus on what's here and I think he has the ability to turn the page pretty quickly. Like I said, he's a smart kid and a great kid with a lot of character, so after that conversation I felt a lot better about putting him in the lineup and giving him a chance to play and help us here tonight."
On Home Ice Advantage: "It's hard to say, there's things that I expected in Calgary that I thought would be real difficult on us and some of them were and some of them we managed to work through pretty well. We'll see some different matchups tonight on our side of it, but some of them will stay the same based on what we saw in Game 2 there that we liked as well. The biggest advantage to us is our crowd and our fans and the excitement our guys get from playing at Pepsi Center. We love playing here, we loved playing here all last year and this year, we started to get some momentum at home at the end of the year and to me, that's a big advantage when our guys are excited to come play and they're loose and enjoying the game. I feel we're a better team so hopefully that helps us tonight."
On Playing With Desperation: "That's the way the series goes, they beat us Game 1 and we had to play more desperate, we didn't have a choice if we wanted to win the hockey game. We did that and now they're going to do the exact same thing. It's our job as a team to make sure we come out with that same energy and emotion and passion that we played with in Game 2 and it was obviously a recipe for success on our end, so I expect this to be a real tough game, but we have to replicate that, if not be better here tonight."
Quotes transcribed by ColoradoAvalanche.com's Dan Vatch