Found April 16, 2014 on Fox Sports North:
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Patrick Roy finished his Hall of Fame goaltending career in heartbreaking fashion as the Colorado Avalanche lost to Minnesota on an overtime goal in Game 7 of the 2003 postseason. Perhaps it's only fitting then that Roy begins his first playoff series behind the bench against the Wild, with Game 1 on Thursday night at Pepsi Center. "Am I nervous? I say no," Roy said. "I'm more anxious to see the puck drop. When you're well prepared, you're not nervous, you're anxious." All season long, Roy's preached an even-keeled demeanor to his team. The stage and stakes may be bigger, but he's trying to keep their focus only on the next shift and nothing farther. It's the same attitude he had as a youngster, when he helped Montreal to the 1985-86 Stanley Cup title. Teammate Larry Robinson actually had a brief conversation with Roy before that series, in the sauna of all places. "He said, 'Hey, kid, all I'm asking is no bad goals,'" recounted Roy, whose team was 4-0-1 against Minnesota this season. "And from the first game I was not thinking about winning the Stanley Cup. I was thinking no bad goals and having fun." The Avs are a young squad with little playoff experience. But that shouldn't be an obstacle in the eyes of Joe Sakic, the team's executive vice president of hockey operations whose first move was bringing in Roy. "You can get that experience while winning," Sakic said. "That's the best way to get that experience." The Wild feel like they're peaking at just the right time, after struggling earlier in the season. "We were in a tight race for the wild card and we won some big games in some hard buildings to get here," Zach Parise said. "We like the way we've been playing the last couple of weeks. We're playing pretty stingy defensively and we're getting some timely scoring." Five things to keep an eye on in this Western Conference contest: VARLY VS. BRYZ: Semyon Varlamov turned in one of the best seasons in franchise history, winning a league-leading 41 games. That's one more than Roy ever won in his time in the Mile High City. His counterpart, Ilya Bryzgalov, has added stability since he was acquired from Edmonton in early March. Bryzgalov went 7-1-3 down the stretch. The only concern is this: Bryzgalov has been sketchy in the postseason. In 2010 with Phoenix, he went 3-4 with 24 goals allowed. In 2011, he went 0-4 with 17 goals allowed. And in 2012 with Philadelphia, he went 5-6 and gave up 37 goals. BANGED UP: Colorado will be missing leading scorer Matt Duchene (knee) for at least the start of the series. Defenseman Jan Hejda (upper body injury) returned to practice Wednesday, while forward John Mitchell (head) remains questionable. Not that the Avs are preoccupied by all their injuries. "Guys are stepping up and we're finding ways to win," Erik Johnson said. Minnesota is relatively healthy, with Mikael Granlund expected back on the ice. He missed the last six games of the regular season after taking a hit to the head. CONTRASTING STYLES: The last thing the Wild want to do is get into a skating contest with the speedy Avalanche. Instead, the Wild will dump the puck deep into the zone in an effort to slow down Colorado. "We want to make them play as much defense as we can," defenseman Ryan Suter said. "You let them have too much time, they're going to make you pay." YOUTHFUL EXUBERANCE: Just 18 and already Nathan MacKinnon has plenty of playoff experience. Well, at the major junior level anyway. MacKinnon, the favorite to win rookie of the year, led Halifax to the Memorial Cup title last season. And while that's not exactly the Stanley Cup, he thinks the experience should help. "This is obviously faster, more intense," MacKinnon said. "We're in this together." Obviously, the Wild feel the same way. "We believe in our chances," Mikko Koivu said. "It's a process. You've got to build it again, and it's gonna start from Game 1. That's what we're working on right here each and every day." DYNAMIC DUO: For years, Sakic and Roy formed quite a tandem on the ice, helping the Avs to two Stanley Cup titles. That chemistry has certainly been on display this season with Sakic in the front office and Roy behind the bench. They've helped restore the luster to an organization that had fallen on rough times. Could this be the new model that other NHL teams emulate? "Maybe," Roy said. "They love what's going on here now."
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

WATCH: Avs' Erik Johnson saves empty net goal at last second

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson racing back and made an incredible play to stop an empty net goal and save the game in the late stages of the third period during Thursday night's Western Conference playoff series opener against Minnesota.The Avalanche were down 4-3 when they pulled their goalie for an extra skater with three minutes left in regulation. With the Avalanche...

Minnesota Wild vs Colorado Avalanche: Series preview and prediction

The Minnesota Wild open the first round of the playoffs Thursday against the dynamic and Central Division surprise Colorado Avalanche. The Avs have flourished this season behind a cast of budding superstars and a fiery coach in Patrick Roy. The question now is how this potent team will fair in the playoffs against the more seasoned Wild who have a worse record, but boast more experience...

Why the Colorado Avalanche made the playoffs

There are a pair beat writers for the Colorado Avalanche this season for isportsweb.com: Jake Hazan and I. We decided that we would put together some questions and explain some of the reasons for the Colorado Avalanche making the playoffs this season, as well as do a little looking ahead to the first-round matchup between the Avs and the Minnesota Wild. Who would you consider to...

Wild enter playoffs with more experience, different feeling than last year

Rewind to last April and the Minnesota Wild were left to win at Colorado on the season's final day to earn their first playoff appearance in five years. Minnesota's late qualifier earned it a matchup with the top-seed Chicago Blackhawks. Forward Jason Pominville, the Wild's big trade-deadline acquisition, was dealing with a concussion and unable to play anything but a...

Avalanche exec. Joe Sakic admits Roy most responsible for playoff birth

DENVER, Colo. — On the eve of the Colorado Avalanche’s first playoff series since 2009/10, president of hockey operations Joe Sakic admits there is one major factor that has contributed to the turn-around of the Avs this season — head coach and Hall of Famer, Patrick Roy. Sakic, who was hired as the Avs president of hockey operations in May, has made it a major goal of his...

Colorado Avalanche vs Minnesota Wild: Stanley Cup 2014 first-round preview

This one is really difficult to call. The Colorado Avalanche had an incredible regular season under the guidance of rookie head coach Patrick Roy, but it all seems too good to be true. The Minnesota Wild had an up-and-down season,…Read more →The post Colorado Avalanche vs Minnesota Wild: Stanley Cup 2014 first-round preview appeared first on The Hockey Daily.

Wild pins playoff hopes on Bryzgalov

Like the “humongous” universe he was so fascinated by during HBO’s ‘‘24/7,’’ the Ilya Bryzgalov YouTube library is vast and endless. Type his name into the search field, and you’ll find out Bryz- galov is afraid of bears in the forest. You’ll hear how the Wild goaltender thinks Siberian huskies with blue eyes look like beautiful blondes. You’ll watch him dive...

Wild miss chance to take control of series with OT loss to Avalanche in Game 1

Everything was going the Minnesota Wild's way through the second period on Thursday night in the playoff opener at Colorado. Minnesota held a 4-2 lead. The much-maligned Kyle Brodziak had scored his first career playoff goal and rookie Erik Haula kept up his production even while moving to the fourth line because Mikael Granlund returned to the lineup. The Wild added a power...

Erik Johnson Saves Game By Keeping Puck Out Of Empty Net

The Minnesota Wild were up 4-3 and had a chance to clinch the first game of the series but Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson saved the day. Johnson’s amazing hustle to keep the puck out of the net kept the Avs in the game, and allowed Paul Stastny to tie the game with 13 seconds left. [@cjzero] The post Erik Johnson Saves Game By Keeping Puck Out Of Empty Net appeared...

Wild lose late lead, fall 5-4 in overtime to Avalanche

DENVER (AP) -- Paul Stastny scored 7:27 into overtime after tying the game with 13.4 seconds remaining in regulation, lifting the Colorado Avalanche to a 5-4 win over the Minnesota Wild in the opener of the Western Conference quarterfinals on Thursday night. Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan O'Reilly and Jamie McGinn also added goals for Colorado in Patrick Roy's postseason debut behind...

Paul Stastny Scores Game Tying And OT Winner For Avalanche In Game 1 Over Wild (VIDEO)

Photo courtesy of @Avalanche Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche not only tied the game up with fifteen seconds left in regulation, but he won the game seven minutes and twenty-seven seconds into overtime as well.  Statsny’s second of the night gives the Avalanche a 1-0 series lead over the Minnesota Wild, who fall to 4-17 in their last 21 playoff games. Nathan MacKinnon made...

Paul Stastny OT goal gives Colorado Avalanche victory over Minnesota Wild in Game 1

The #WhyNotUs Avalanche seemed to be headed toward a #BecauseThat'sWhy answer from the Minnesota Wild in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series Thursday night. A team that appeared nervous much of the night in a favored, home-ice role against the Wild regrouped to pull out a nearly miraculous 5-4 overtime victory at a sold-out, delirious Pepsi Center....

FOX Sports North to televise first-round Wild playoff games

  FOX Sports North announced Tuesday that it will televise the NHL first round playoff series between the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche. All telecasts will include a one-hour Wild Live pregame show, as well as extended (half hour) postgame coverage. Television coverage begins on Thursday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m. with a one-hour edition of Wild Live presented by Century Link...

Series preview: Avalanche vs. Wild

Up until Sunday, April 13, it looked as though the Colorado Avalanche would be taking on the monstrous task of facing off against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks, as the number-two seed in their division. The St. Louis Blues had led the Central Division for much of the 2013-14 season, and everyone had expected that they would coast into the number one...

Videos- Your OT Goals From Last Night

First, Alex Steen with a goal early in triple OT...   Then below, some magic from Paul Stastny... Continue reading "Videos- Your OT Goals From Last Night"
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.