NHL

Stanley Cup: Bednar wants Avs to 'get on the attack' in Game 5

By Sports Desk June 24, 2022

Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar wants his team to use their "nervous energy and emotion" in Game 5 as they aim to secure their first Stanley Cup in more than 20 years.

The Avs lead the Finals series against the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 after a crucial 3-2 win in overtime in Game 4, courtesy of a controversial Nazem Kadri goal when Colorado had six players on the ice.

Colorado can seal their third Stanley Cup and first since 2001 with a victory over the Lightning, having started the series with two wins on home ice before they were thrashed 6-2 in Game 3.

Bednar expects heightened emotions among his players, with title celebrations looming, but does not want them to shy away from those feelings.

"You always hear about controlled emotion. I'm kind of the opposite with our team," Bednar told reporters.

"Besides running around and getting out of our game plan, I want us to use our energy and nervous energy and emotion to go play the game with passion, play hard and stay on our toes and getting after it.

"That's my message to our team, has been all year. I want to harness that. I want our team to get on the attack.

"Every game the whole season long, it was the same type of preparation as today."

Related items

  • Panthers acquire Matthew Tkachuk from Flames for Jonathan Huberdeau in blockbuster trade Panthers acquire Matthew Tkachuk from Flames for Jonathan Huberdeau in blockbuster trade

    Matthew Tkachuk will be trading his winter coat and gloves for sunglasses and sandals after a blockbuster trade sent him from the Calgary Flames to the Florida Panthers on Friday.

    In a deal with two of the league’s best players swapping teams, the Panthers acquired high-scoring forward Tkachuk from the Flames in exchange for Jonathan Huberdeau, defenseman MacKenzie Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt and a conditional 2025 first-round draft pick. 

    Tkachuk, coming off career bests of 42 goals, 62 assists and 104 points this past season, signed an eight-year extension with Florida, a deal that will keep him with the team through the 2029-30 season. He said earlier in the week that he would not sign a long-term contract to stay in Calgary and that led to trade talks, with no shortage of teams hoping to land the 24-year-old. 

    ''Matthew is a tenacious, physical competitor who possesses a tremendously unique skillset,'' Panthers general manager Bill Zito said. ''He is a consistent elite offensive contributor and has emerged as one of the most complete and dynamic young players in the National Hockey League. We are thrilled to be able to add a generational talent to our lineup.'' 

    The Flames, who recently lost standout forward Johnny Gaudreau to free agency, get back a big-time playmaker in Huberdeau, who tied a career best with 30 goals last season, while setting personal bests with an NHL-high 85 assists and 115 points. Only Connor McDavid (123) had more points last season than Huberdeau, the Florida franchise leader in games, assists and points.  

    ''We would like to thank Jonathan and MacKenzie for their immense contributions to the Florida Panthers, both on and off the ice, during their tenures in South Florida,'' Zito said. ''They have both blossomed into exceptional athletes and people. Their contributions as players and people made an indelible mark on our franchise.'' 

    Weegar tallied eight goals with 36 assists last season in 80 games for the Panthers, who had a league-best 122 points in 2021-22 and won a playoff round for the first time since 1996 before they were swept by Tampa Bay in the second round.  

    Both Huberdeau and Weegar are set to be unrestricted free agents next summer.  

  • New Jersey Devils agree to give newly acquired goaltender Vitek Vanecek $10.2million for three years New Jersey Devils agree to give newly acquired goaltender Vitek Vanecek $10.2million for three years

    The New Jersey Devils are set to begin with competition for the starting goaltender position when training camp opens in a few months.

    Vitek Vanecek agreed on Tuesday to terms on a $10.2million, three-year contract with the Devils, a deal that will give him a salary just slightly less than incumbent starter MacKenzie Blackwood.

    New Jersey acquired Vanecek from the Washinton Capitals at the NHL draft to provide some depth after the team used a franchise-record seven goalies last season.

    "There's an opportunity for me, you know, to play lots of games, and I'm really happy for it," Vanecek said. “And then I will battle with Mackenzie, you know, and that's, that's what I need."

    The 25-year-old Blackwood, who is going into the final year of his contract, made a team-high 24 starts in 2021-22, but also missed nearly three months due to a heel injury.

    The 26-year-old Vanecek started 38 games for the Capitals last season, going 20-12-6 with a 2.67 GAA and .908 save percentage.

    Blackwood, meanwhile, went 9-10-4 with a 3.39 GAA and .892 save percentage last season after going 46-41-12 with a 2.83 GAA and .911 save percentage in his first three seasons with New Jersey.

    "We feel really good about, again for another summer, adding depth to our goaltending and watching Mackenzie and Vitek challenge each other and push each other," Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald said at the draft. "You have to have depth. You saw teams in the playoffs lost depth and ended up losing a series."

    The Devils missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year last season and have just one playoff appearance since the 2012-13 season.

  • Gaudreau had Columbus 'circled' as destination Gaudreau had Columbus 'circled' as destination

    When prized free agent Johnny Gaudreau chose to sign a massive deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, the hockey world was stunned by the news.  

    But Gaudreau himself did not give the decision a second thought, signing for seven years and $68million.  

    "I wanted to come here. This was always a place circled on my list," Gaudreau said during his introductory news conference.  

    The Blue Jackets have developed a reputation with some in NHL circles as struggling to retain talent after trading away young core players like Seth Jones and Cam Atkinson, and Gaudreau addressed those concerns head-on.  

    "I'm not really sure about any other players. We're not talking about why people don't want to be at Columbus; it's not a topic in the locker room," he said.

    "For me, I just heard so many great things from former players, and it made me feel really comfortable with my decision to come here." 

    Since their inception in 2000, Columbus have never won a division crown and have yet to play in a Conference final series. The Blue Jackets missed the playoffs last season with a 37-38-7 record.  

    "I think there's a lot of potential," the 28-year-old winger said. "I thought it was a good spot for me personally. We can have a lot of success here.

    "They've got good players on this team. And I'm really looking forward to jumping in with this group. I've heard a lot of great things. 

    "They're a close-knit group, and that's who you want to play with are guys who get along in the locker room and love coming to the rink and working together every single day, and it's just a healthy environment to be around, and that's exciting to me."

    Gaudreau spent the beginning of his career with the Calgary Flames, tallying 609 points (210 goals, 399 assists) in 602 games. He set career highs with 40 goals and 75 assists last season.  

    A New Jersey native, Gaudreau had been linked to teams in the U.S. Northeast, including the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers, before ultimately choosing Columbus.  

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.