Avalanche takes Sunday off ahead of Monday’s Game 4 vs. Coyotes
Less than 24 hours after coaching through a highly frustrating Game 3 loss to the Arizona Coyotes, game video supported what Avalanche coach Jared Bednar originally thought about his team’s first loss in the first-round series.
Two defensive-zone turnovers were too much to overcome — despite a 51-shot assault on Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper.
“I feel the exact same way about it as I did after watching it live,” Bednar said Sunday on a Zoom call from the team hotel in Edmonton. “Obviously, we made some mental errors — we were probably too light on pucks that ended coming back on us. We’re going to have to get a little more firm on our sticks in the defensive zone.
“And some of our decisions early in the game just weren’t as good as they were in the final 30 minutes, for sure. We have room for improvement to play a more complete game and that has to be the goal.”
Bednar gave all his players the day off Sunday after three games in four days. Game 4 is scheduled for Monday at 3:30 p.m. (ALT, NBCSN).
“No one is hitting the ice. Everyone is relaxing today, getting their rest, doing some recovery work at the hotel, seeing our trainers if they need to,” Bednar said. “Just getting prepared and ready to play tomorrow.”
Perfect PK. The Avalanche has killed off all nine of Arizona’s power plays in the series. Defenseman Ryan Graves anticipates that success to continue while playing shorthanded in front of goalies Philipp Grubauer or Pavel Francouz.
“There’s a lot of effort being put into it. Guys are doing the right things,” Graves said Sunday. “There’s been some big blocked shots and Gruby and Frankie are a big part of that. I think it’s everybody playing the right way, playing together.”
Footnotes. As expected, Bednar declined to name Monday’s starting goalie. Grubauer played in Games 1 and 2 and will probably get the Game 4 start. … Avs forward Vladislav Namestnikov, who missed Game 3 because of what is believed to be an upper-body injury, remains day-to-day, Bednar said. … Star center Nathan MacKinnon leads the Avs with seven points and eight penalty minutes. He had just 12 penalty minutes in 69 regular-season games and is a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high level of play. … The Avalanche said it has no knowledge of young Russian forward Vladislav Kamenev signing with a Kontinental Hockey League team in St. Petersburg, Russia, and said Kamenev’s agent has denied the report. Kamenev, 24, is a restricted free agent who had a goal and eight points in 38 games with the Avs this season. He is not among the five extra forwards in Edmonton with the team. If Kamenev signs elsewhere the Avalanche will retain his NHL rights.