ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Patrick Roy has shown all sorts of patience with his youthful squad this season.
That certainly won’t waver now just because the Colorado Avalanche are in an offensive slump.
“This is a learning process,” the coach said Friday. “I’m not going to throw them under the bus because I’m their partner. Been with them all year long and I trust our team.”
Roy does take some comfort in the fact that home teams in the Western Conference playoffs are a combined 15-1 so far.
“But there are things we could do better,” he said.
Chief among them, more production, especially on a power play that’s scored just once in 15 chances. The Wild have actually found a way to slow down the high-flying Avalanche by clogging up the neutral zone and making it hard to get quality shots in the offensive end.
For that, Roy finds himself guilty. All season long, he’s preached shooting the puck with a purpose.
In playoff hockey, though, sometimes shooting with a rebound or a lucky bounce in mind works just as well.
“So we just need to change a little bit, fine-tune a few things here and there,” Roy said.
The only thing keeping the Avalanche in these last two road games has been the play of Semyon Varlamov, who seems to be getting better with every shot he faces.
“That’s your job - stop the puck,” said Varlamov, one of the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy. “Doesn’t matter how many shots - 15 or 45. We knew it was not going to be an easy series for us.”
Wild coach Mike Yeo’s biggest piece of advice for his team is rather simple: No assumptions.
Sure, they started out well in Game 3 and again on Thursday. But this will be an entirely different scenario, especially returning to a raucous crowd.
“Don’t go in there with the expectation that we’re just going to be able to pick up where we left off,” Yeo said. “Make it happen with the little things, with the way that we play, with the way that we execute. Let’s go in there and obviously we have to expect a hard push from them.