TAMPA — The Colorado Avalanche know the Stanley Cup might be within the constructing and that they’ll have an opportunity to win it in Sport 5 of the Stanley Cup Closing in opposition to the Tampa Bay Lightning at Ball Area on Friday (8 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS).
However as difficult because it could be, the Avalanche are attempting not to consider doubtlessly celebrating with the Cup on their dwelling ice.
“I really feel like each collection it is at all times, ‘The following recreation is the largest one,’ ” Colorado defenseman Cale Makar mentioned Thursday. “So for us our focus is simply on subsequent recreation and no matter what occurs, we’re nonetheless going to be a assured group.
“Clearly, we now have an excellent alternative right here to clinch one thing nice for the crew, however on the finish of the day we simply need to concentrate on ourselves and play our recreation after which wherever that takes us, it takes us.”
Colorado took a 3-1 lead within the best-of-7 collection and closed in on their first championship since 2001 when heart Nazem Kadri scored 12:02 into additional time for a 3-2 victory in Sport 4 at Tampa Bay on Wednesday. It was an emotional ending with Kadri being the hero in his return after lacking 4 video games following hand surgical procedure.
The Avalanche have been good at having fun with such moments all through the Stanley Cup Playoffs, although, after which transferring on to the following process. On this case, it’s attempting to complete off the Lightning, who’ve been resilient of their bid to win the Cup for the third straight season.
Tampa Bay trailed the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 within the first spherical and gained the final two video games of that collection, together with Sport 6 in additional time, to advance. Then, the Lightning misplaced the primary two video games of the Jap Convention Closing to the New York Rangers earlier than coming again to win in six video games for his or her eleventh consecutive playoff collection victory.
“We all know what’s at stake, however on the identical time, what Tampa [Bay] goes to carry and need to type of put different feelings to the aspect and concentrate on the sport at hand,” Avalanche ahead Darren Helm mentioned. “Like Cale mentioned, we have a bunch that believes, however we additionally know that Tampa goes to be enjoying their finest recreation. So we have to place all that outdoors noise to the aspect and simply concentrate on what we now have to do tomorrow.”
Colorado closed out the primary spherical in opposition to the Nashville Predators and the Western Convention Closing in opposition to the Edmonton Oilers on its first makes an attempt to comb every collection. The exception was a 5-4 additional time loss to the St. Louis Blues in Sport 5 of the second spherical.
Main 3-1 in that collection, the Avalanche jumped out to a 3-0 benefit within the second interval of Sport 5 and took a 4-3 lead with 2:46 left within the third interval however could not shut out the sport and misplaced on heart Tyler Bozak‘s objective 3:38 into additional time. However Colorado regrouped two days later in Sport 6, after they got here again from being down a objective twice and gained 3-2 to advance.
“I like the way in which we have closed out collection,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar mentioned. “I feel the hardest one, and the one which we needed to bounce again from in opposition to the Blues, was an actual powerful loss at dwelling and we went over there of their constructing and performed very well. Then the opposite collection in Edmonton we needed to come again from behind in Sport 4 and we did a pleasant job of sticking with the hassle and enjoying to our id. Actually, the entire playoffs we have been attempting to do this. Some nights are higher than others.
“However I do not see why we would not come out and attempt to play to our id.”
Groups that take a 3-1 lead in a best-of-7 Cup Closing are 35-1 (.972) profitable the collection. The 1942 Maple Leafs are the lone crew to rally from such a gap within the Cup Closing; they got here again from being down 3-0 in opposition to the Detroit Purple Wings.
Helm was in an analogous place with the Purple Wings in the course of the 2008 Stanley Cup Closing in opposition to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Detroit led 3-1 in that collection with an opportunity to win the Cup at dwelling in Sport 5 however misplaced 4-3 in triple additional time earlier than rebounding with a 3-2 victory in Sport 6 at Pittsburgh to win the Stanley Cup.
“It is a possibility, however type of what we have been saying, it is a huge recreation that we have to simply concentrate on what we now have to do,” Helm mentioned. “I do not suppose we’re desirous about anything past the sport itself. Play as exhausting as we are able to, put together and let issues maintain themselves.”