LAS VEGAS (KDVR) — The Colorado Avalanche are all in at Vegas, against the Golden Knights.
“This is why you play hockey,” veteran center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare said, “big games … I’m excited.”
After missing two games with a lower body injury, Nathan MacKinnon will skate tonight and Philipp Grubauer will be in goal.
“We’re still in striking distance and control our own destiny,” head coach Jared Bednar noted. “Our team has played really hard, we were a little quiet this morning (at morning skate in Las Vegas), guys certainly understand the importance of this game.
If the Avs with in regulation on Monday night and sweep their final two games against Los Angeles at home – they would clinch the Western Conference, the President’s Trophy and home ice throughout the remainder of the playoffs.
Bednar isn’t trying to downplay it. “It’s not the be all to end all. What means the most to me is our home record, how we play at home and how our guys feel when they’re at home. It’s been a goal of ours all season, we’re looking for any advantage we can get.”
The matchup on Monday is a harbinger of things to come. Sure, they’re likely to see Vegas again, but beyond that – just to feel the urgency of playoff hockey is what excited team captain Gabriel Landeskog.
“Just go out, play and compete with the kind of urgency we’ve had over the last couple of games. We have to crack up our intensity and make sure that we have really good habits going into the post season.”
Let the games begin.