Avs lament lack of aggression in nightmare third period

Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, and head coach Jared Bednar believe tightening nerves in the third period of Game 5 lead to St. Louis tying and eventually winning the contest in overtime.

Video Transcript

- First two periods, I thought we played really good and played some really good hockey. And we got tied in the third. And obviously, they ramped up their desperation level, which is to expect. They're playing for their season. And we just didn't get it done.

It's the same as if you win a game. You enjoy it for three minutes. And then you move on. And here's, the same thing. You sulk for three minutes, and you move on. That's as simple as that. It's playoff hockey. It's not supposed to be easy.

- A fun opportunity for us. Hopefully everything happens for a reason. And we got to go get this done. But yeah, it should make our team a little harder, a little more grittier in these situations.

You can't win every series in 4 and 5. They have a great team. And we're excited to go have a huge challenge in St. Louis and try to close out a series.

It's in the past. But obviously, we've had some success there. And we definitely need a better effort for a full 60. We've had games where we got on our heels a little bit. We wanted it so bad, I guess. And just got to keep focused on our process. And when the third go to the Conference Finals, whatever, it's one period. Got to go keep our game going, stay aggressive. And that's what we'll do Friday or whatever. I don't even know what day it is, but game 6.

I got out there. And they were changing, or they were tired. So I got some room and made a move and scored. But like I said to Ryan, it's over with. We lost. I was happy after game 4. The playoffs aren't for points and attention or whatever. It's just to get wins. And that's how everyone feels in our room. We're all tugging on the same rope. And it truly does not matter about what kind of goals you score as long as they're going.

- We have conversations in the room all the time. And guys are talking and whatever. But I don't see any reason to worry. I mean, our young guys and the less-experienced guys, they've been awesome for us.

They've been really good and good students of the game and good kids and good guys that want to learn all the time and playing hard for us. So I mean, that's just something-- I think everybody, just like Nate said, we're all pulling the rope in the same direction. And we'll turn the page. And we'll get back to work tomorrow.

Third period, they did a good job of keeping pucks in. And we got a little bit sloppy with some of our clears. And it was desperation mode for them. And they're throwing pucks to the net. And rebound was laying there. And they were outnumbering us at the net, simple as that. But we've got a short memory and move on.

You go into the third period with the lead at home in a playoff game like this-- we're a confident group. And nothing that really happened that changes it. It's just sometimes, you get on your heels a little bit, get a little tight. And you want to try to stay aggressive. But you also don't want to miss an assignment and things like that. You want to try to play safe at times.

And sometimes it comes back and bites you. So that's what it did tonight. And we've just got to stay aggressive. That's what we've been doing. That's what we did game 3 and 4. And we were up late in the game and just kept playing. And sometimes it bounces your way, sometimes it doesn't. And that's playoff hockey.

- They played with more desperation than us in the second half of the game. And we had a couple of chances. And their goalie made some big saves. And then for me, even getting out of the second, we made a mistake on their goal, just a little late on the coverage on the middle guy, a little late on the rush coverage on the next one.

It's the last six, eight minutes, they're on a push. And they're pressing down on us. And we made some mistakes with the puck. We didn't get pucks out. We had pucks on our stick. They had that desperation to keep plays alive. And then we had, looking back at it now and looking at some of the play in the D-zone, we got some poor habits in there, cheating for pucks and not protecting the right part of the ice too.

So Nate scores a huge goal for us to bounce us back in the lead. And then we give up another. It was a 6 on 5, they get a bounce. And we're kind of sitting in there, doing everything right. And I don't think Kemps could find it. I don't think Cale could find it. But it's a play leading up to that where we kicked too many pucks back to them.

You can group Kemps in with our team. We weren't good enough, in the third period especially. We did such a good job, in St. Louis, of just continuing to play our game with the lead. And we've done a good job of it pretty much all year, to be honest with you. And all of a sudden, late in the game when they get on their push--

It looked like we were handling it well for a little while, obviously not as good in the offensive zone as what we'd want to be to try and spend some more time down there. But then the turnovers late and swinging around in the D-zone, it cost us.

I mean, it's relatively easy to say. But they've seen our last couple of games. And they know what it felt like and how we continued to play. We stopped playing. They're a desperate team, facing elimination. They were going to come, and they were going to play hard. And they're a really good team. So you got to match that. And you've got to keep that intensity and desperation in your game, whether you're playing with a lead or coming from behind.

And like I said, we've done that. So it's fresh in their memory. We got to get back to our game and play like we did. We had a pretty good first half of the game again and built a nice lead. And we were doing everything right. And to me, it just kind of disappeared. It was trickling away in the third. And then the latter part of the third was no good.

You have to stay aggressive. You got to continue to play your game and believe in what you're doing. And like I said, for the most part, we've been doing that. But it's starting to look like you're either the hammer or the nail in the series. And so we have to go and be the hammer. We have to keep moving forward, pressing, and forcing them into mistakes.

But it starts with the competitiveness and the puck decisions. As the game went on there, we kind of-- they had a little bit extra in the battle we didn't. And our decisions were not good.

I think our effort was there. But we made some coverage mistakes. And we got out-battled around the front of the net a little bit. In the corners, they were hanging on to box. And we didn't close enough plays out. And when we did and we were comfortable down there, being able to defend and not give anything up, then we got the puck back. And we handed it right back to them a number of times. And you can't do that.

I actually liked our room after regulation. Obviously, that stings, especially when Matt can go down and make a huge individual effort and get us another one to take the lead back after we had kind of been stumbling. 6-on-5, it's going to get hairy a little bit at times. And we turned the puck over on 6-on-5 too a couple of times. Even Landy probably had a chance to shoot for it there. And he got closed out at the line. It was just a fine line.

But I liked our room after the three periods ended, coming out in overtime. I actually liked our start in overtime too. We were jumping. We got a few rush attacks, put one to the net that just clipped a guy. It was going in on the weak side and couldn't come up with the rebound.

And then they went down and got a shot and put it in the net. So sometimes that's the way it goes. You got to put it behind you. You got to move on. We got another chance to close out the series in St. Louis. We just played two really good games in there.

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