Andrei Vasilevskiy is simply human. It simply looks like a large of mythic proportions.
The Tampa Bay Lightning’s stellar award-winning goaltender misplaced twice to the Avalanche within the common season. And Colorado intends to beat him 4 extra occasions within the Stanley Cup Finals.
“They do have a great goalie on that side that has accomplished a lot but we also know that defending isn’t just about goalies,” Avs ahead J.T. Compher stated after Wednesday’s morning skate forward of Game 1 at Ball Arena.
Compher would favor to speak in regards to the Avalanche’s goalies. Darcy Kuemper is predicted to begin Wednesday, however coach Jared Bednar declined to say. He would possibly go along with Pavel Francouz, who closed out collection sweeps towards Nashville and Edmonton within the first and third rounds.
Either manner, Vasilevskiy wins the comparability. The 6-foot-3 Russian was the 2019 Vezina Trophy winner because the NHL’s greatest goalie and is the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP. He was an integral a part of the Bolts’ back-to-back Stanley Cup title victories, and has performed all 17 video games through the group’s present run to the finals.
But Compher stated a refined group effort to defend in entrance of Kuemper or Francouz will likely be key within the goalie comparability.
“It’s about the whole team, making sure we’re helping our goalies, forwards tracking well, blocking shots — doing all the little things to help those guys out,” he stated. “We have full confidence. Both guys have shown throughout the season that they can be successful and both guys have been doing the work. Obviously, Kuemps was out but he’s been working hard to be ready to go. Frankie, same thing, during this break he’s just getting ready.”
Winger Logan O’Connor additionally spoke in regards to the Avs goalie Wednesday morning.
“Both guys have been huge for us all year and have stepped up at different points,” he stated. “I think tonight, whoever gets the opportunity is going to be dialed in after this break and focused and ready to go.”
Ah, that break. The Avs may have eight days between video games since final enjoying on June 6 in Edmonton. Will Colorado come out rusty towards the Lightning?
“We’re in a good spot,” Bednar stated after the morning skate. “Our strategy to this break was very comparable if not actual to what we did after the Nashville collection. We got here out and have been able to play Game 1 towards St. Louis (profitable 3-2 in time beyond regulation however outshooting the Blues 54-25).
“We’ve given them enough rest, we’ve had our meetings for the prep, guys are feeling good about it. There’s a little bit of a nervous energy, the excitement and anticipation is here now. Guys are really wanting to get on the ice and get competing.”
The Avalanche’s penchant for exercise may very well be the distinction in negating the Bolts’ goalie benefit.
Colorado’s capacity to manage the puck and regularly pepper opposing netminders with photographs has been a trademark of its play all through its 12-2 playoff run. In reality, the Avs enter the Stanley Cup Finals with 18 extra photographs on aim (570) than the Lightning (552) — regardless of enjoying three fewer video games.
How a lot that issues towards a group, and goalie, with as a lot big-game expertise as Tampa Bay stays to be seen. But Bednar exuded confidence that his group could be prepared.
“I feel like we’ve been preparing our team for this moment since day one of training camp,” Bednar stated.
“We’ve got a lot of great leaders in there, guys that have spent a lot of time in this league and been in a lot of different situations and we’ve handled them well as a group. Love our leadership starting with (Gabe Landeskog) all the way down, and we’re prepared and ready to go play our game. That’s the most important thing. I don’t think that we’re going to shy away from the moment.”