DENVER | There is Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen, but also Valeri Nichushkin. Since the start of the final, Nichushkin has been the best player on the ice.
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“Valeri is built for the playoffs,” Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said after the easy 7-0 win over the Lightning.
Nichushkin showed the way in this second game by scoring the first goal at the end of a power play in the first period. Number 13 also scored his team's fourth goal.
The big 6'4" winger scored two goals, took five shots and was 17:23 on the ice. After two games against the Lightning, he already has four points (3 goals, 1 assist) and eleven shots.
"I played against him and I remembered that he was good at rushing towards the opposing net, he does it with a lot of power," said defender Josh Manson. But I have a feeling it's much more consistent now. He fits well in our structure, he is good at forechecking. He's big, but strong too. I find him great since my arrival with the Avalanche. »
Andre Burakovsky had a one-goal and one-assist game, but he didn't finish the game.
"Burky left, he couldn't come back," Bednar said. He will undergo further tests. »
The former Capitals has missed four games since the start of the playoffs, two of them with a lower-body injury.
Since the start of the playoffs, the Avalanche now have a pretty crazy record of 14 wins and only two losses. They swept the Predators in the first round and the Oilers in the Western Final.
With a 2-0 lead against the Lightning, the Avalanche promise to stay calm.
"We don't pay attention to outside noises," Bednar said. And we do not pay more attention to noises from outside when they are positive. »