Following a 4-1 series victory over the Calgary Flames, the Colorado Avalanche begins the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at the San Jose Sharks on Friday. The team will play both Games 1 and 2 in Northern California before heading back to Denver for contests on Tuesday and Thursday.
Here is what some of the Avalanche players and head coach Jared Bednar had to say following morning skate.
Colorado Left Wing Gabriel Landeskog
On The Mindset Of The Team: "Listen, one round, getting kicked out in the first round, it's not that big of a difference. You want to make a real run at this thing here and for us it doesn't stop after round 1 and beating one of the top seeds. It's about putting it in the next gear and making sure that we get better as a team. I still say it, we haven't seen the best from our team yet. I still think there's a lot more to come. I like where we're at, it's an exciting time to be an Avalanche fan and it's an exciting time to be an Avalanche player as well."
On If There's a Difference Between Round 1 and Round 2: "A little bit. But at the same time, there's not either. You're in this little bubble that you try not to look outside of too many times. You want to stay focused on the task at hand. You're with a group of guys basically around the clock. A little different playing this time of year but other than that, like I said, you try and stay in this bubble and you wanna stay there for a couple more months. For us, hopefully, the fun has just begun."
On Maintaining A High Level Of Performance: "Whether it's motivating guys or making sure we get back to the same standard we had against Calgary, I think you're moving on, your game should only get better. It should only trend in one direction. We know there will be ups and downs but for us, it's a matter of having a mindset of picking up where you left off and making we do that here tonight."
Video: Gabriel Landeskog before Game 1 vs. Sharks
Colorado Defenseman Ian Cole
On The Keys To Game 1: "We've had some time off here so I think ratcheting that intensity right back up. It always seems to be that, as each individual series goes on, each team gets more intense, more desperate. Obviously, there's a little hate built up there and I think it would behoove us to get that hate built back up as quick as we could and get that desperation built back up. It just kind of always happens that way and we don't want to spend the first period, two periods, Game 1 to slowly wade ourselves back in that mindset so the quicker we can get it done, the better off we'll be."
On Physical Play: "People always mention mentality but it's definitely a physical thing as well. It's getting back into it physically obviously at practice, but you're not really getting hit at practice so really trying to dial it in as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. We just need to come out, have a great warm-up tonight. We obviously had a great skate today, which is good. And like you said, hit, get hit, quickly into the game as quickly as you can. The mental game hopefully precedes that but certainly follows that."
On The Team's Confidence: "The best way we can go about it is not worry about who our opponent is, what our matchup is. We didn't do that in Calgary--we worried about ourselves. Certainly, there's lineup tendencies and certainly, have been ways to play different guys. But, for the most part we just need to be worrying about ourselves. We need to make sure that we put a good product out there. We need to make sure that we do the right things and if we do, we should have some success."
Video: Ian Cole talks before Avs vs. Sharks Game 1
Colorado Center Carl Soderberg
On Challenges From Round 1 to Round 2: "We don't put too much thought into it. We're well rested, they played just a couple days ago so of course, they're more ready to play the first couple minutes. But I think it benefits us a little bit in the long term."
On Maintaining Competitive Level: "It's going to be a tough series. One of the best teams in the West the last couple of years. We know how they play their roster. I think if we stick to our game, we play our game, down the road we are going to be fine."
On The Calgary Series: "Calgary was our best defensive game the whole year. We are going to need that in this series too--there are a lot of offensive weapons. Just stick to our game, good defensively and then we'll get our chances."
Video: Carl Soderberg before Game 1 vs. Sharks
Head Coach Jared Bednar
On Making Changes To The Lineup: "Really tough, all the decisions are tough because if you look at the series we had against Calgary all of our players played really well. Andrighetto comes out up front and although he had limited minutes in the Calgary series, I thought he made a positive impact in those games. He was tenacious on pucks, creating turnovers, great legs on the forecheck and in the offensive zone he did a lot of good things. Brassard is going to go in, he has got a little more experience, he has been here before, he is a guy that I think we can rely on and hopefully has a big impact in this series. On the backend with Nemeth, there are so many things that he does real well for us and that we rely on him for, the defending side of things when we are protecting leads, penalty kill is a big thing, the shot blocking expertise I think is phenomenal. We are making a change there because we have seven guys, nine guys really, but seven that have had a big impact for us in the playoffs already and we are keeping some of those puck movers in. We got Barrie playing with Zadorov, Girard playing with Johnson and then Makar with Cole. So we got a big heavy guy on each line that can defend on each end and help us move the puck and then we have those puck movers that we can put in all kinds of situations on the defensive side of things. It's a real good balance for us. We'll see how it goes and then we'll reevaluate and adjust if we need to for Game 2."
On Defensive Depth: "I don't think it's a challenge when you have puck-moving defensemen. Everyone wants to be able to move the puck out of their zone efficiently and produce offense and it takes five guys to do that. You look at the Sharks back end and how much they help their offensive, I think it's evident. The risk is you take out a guy like (Patrik) Nemeth and you lose some of those minutes that you rely on him for. Again, I think we have some other guys that have stepped up late in the year and in the first round. Guys like (Nikita) Zadorov play bigger roles in some of those [penalty kill] situations and hopefully we're not taking too many penalties tonight. I'd like to see us be real disciplined because the Sharks have a real good power play."
Video: Avs coach Jared Bednar discusses his Game 1 lineup