‘Our next five are going to have to be even better’: Avalanche not taking foot off gas while waiting for next opponent

Colorado played some of its best hockey in the last five games but will need to level up for its next opponent.

'Our next five are going to have to be even better': Avalanche not taking foot off gas while waiting for next opponent
‘Our next five are going to have to be even better’: Avalanche not taking foot off gas while waiting for next opponent

While the Avalanche await the outcome of the Dallas Stars/Vegas Golden Knights series, they work to keep the momentum going from the first-round win against the Winnipeg Jets. But whichever team they end up facing could start off hot without time to come down from a high pressure, full-length best-of-seven win.

“For us, obviously we don’t know if we’re starting at home or on the road, so that’s a big difference,” Cale Makar said. “As a team you can definitely take that momentum obviously if you win a big Game 7 you’re going to take a lot of that momentum into the next series.”

The Avs closed out their opening Stanley Cup Playoffs series in five games and took a couple days off to rest. That time off can be both beneficial and frustrating for a team playing at the level it is right now while waiting to find out who it will play next.

“It’s good to have rest, I think it’s important but after a couple days you kind of feel like I wish we could start but that’s how it goes sometimes — some series’ go quicker and some series’ goes to seven like they do,” Mikko Rantanen said. “That’s also just mental toughness to stay even keel and just work and wait for the next match.”

The Avalanche got right back at it with two long, high-intensity practices — something Rantanen said was important, no matter how well they played the last five games.

“That’s a key too, to have a good practice because you don’t want to get too happy that we played well and then practice like horse (expletive),” Rantanen said laughing after an hour-long session at Family Sports Ice Arena on Saturday. “Because then you know it goes to the games if you don’t practice well so obviously I think coaches are doing good job to demand a lot from us.”

Head coach Jared Bednar said the first-round series was the best his team has played consecutively. Any team looking to get a shot at the Stanley Cup needs to play its best hockey consistently in the postseason — but it gets harder with every new opponent.

“If those were the five best of a series, er best five of the season our next five are going to have to be even better. That’s just kind of the way that the playoffs escalate — you have to keep getting better and better each round and for us, that’s definitely going to have to happen,” Makar said.

Both Makar and Rantanen said no matter who they face next round, they need to stay mentally and physically sharp to be ready for an even tougher matchup.

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