OK, it’s Game 7 time, not a whole lot more to say about it.
Win and move on to play St. Louis in the Western Conference final, lose and the season is over.
The Avalanche and Sharks meet for the last time at the SAP Center in San Jose on Wednesday in what has been an entertaining, emotional, up-and-down second-round Stanley Cup Playoff series.
The Avalanche will use the same lineup – 11 forwards, seven defensemen -- they did Monday in their 4-3 overtime win at the Pepsi Center.
Coach Jared Bednar
told reporters after the morning skate that Mikko Rantanen
is fine after taking a big hit from Sharks defenseman Brent Burns
on Monday. Matt Calvert
, still feeling the effects of Burns’ hit in Game 2, will miss his third game in a row and fourth in the past five games.
“Everybody’s in a good mood and excited to play,” captain Gabriel Landeskog
told reporters. “It’s Game 7, we all know that, but we’ve played some must-wins in the past. The last two weeks of the regular season we had some must-wins, so for us we’re looking at this for what it is and we’re not going to blow it out of proportion. We’re not going to pretend it’s not a Game 7 either. We’re going to go out and play like the season’s on the line.
Series tied 3-3
All times Mountain Time
G1 – San Jose 5, Avalanche 2
G2 – Avalanche 4, San Jose 3
G3 – San Jose 4, Avalanche 2
G4 – Avalanche 3, San Jose 0
G5 – San Jose 2, Avalanche 1
G6 – Avalanche 4, San Jose 3 (OT)
G7 -- Wednesday 7 p.m. – at San Jose
“Everybody’s that in this situation wants to move on and keep the season going. We’re having a lot of fun right now and we’re going to approach this as Game 7 and we know what’s at stake here, but we’ve had this mentality before and we know how to play these games.”
The Avalanche haven’t had much success at the Shark Tank in recent seasons. Counting their 4-3 win in Game 2, they are 3-17-5 in the past 25 games there.
“You want to settle the nerves early and you want to make sure you get out there and keep it fairly simple off the bat,” Landeskog said. “We got to get skating, we got to get skating in this building and that’s what made us successful in Game 2. We started skating and pushing back. We know they’re going to come hard in the first period and we know they really feed off the crowd in this building. For us, we got to push back, not sit there and try to weather the storm too long.
“We’re trying to embrace what we’ve done so far this season. We want to keep this thing going. You’re not going to get a trophy for getting knocked out in the second round. We probably know that we’ve exceeded some expectations this year, but we want to go all the way. We’re not happy with just being here and participating. We want to keep doing damage and keep going.”
I’m guessing Sharks captain Joe Pavelski
will play, but San Jose didn’t have a morning skate, so that won’t be known until coach Peter DeBoer
addresses the media later this afternoon.
Pavelski has been skating but hasn’t played since sustaining head injuries April 23 in Game 7 of the first-round series with Vegas.
The projected Avalanche lineup:
Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Colin Wilson – Tyson Jost – Alexander Kerfoot
Matt Nieto – Carl Soderberg -- J.T. Compher
Gabriel Bourque – Derick Brassard
Samuel Girard -- Cale Makar
Nikita Zadorov -- Tyson Barrie
Ian Cole -- Erik Johnson