SAN JOSE, Calif. — If the Avalanche is to advance to the Western Convention last for the primary time since 2002, it in all probability should discover a technique to cease San Jose defenseman Brent Burns from tearing it up offensively.
In 5 mixed video games in opposition to the Avs this season, Burns has a outstanding 14 factors (4 targets). He led the Sharks with seven factors in three regular-season video games in opposition to Colorado and has produced seven factors (three targets) on this Western Convention semifinal playoff sequence that’s simply two video games outdated.
Burns is, properly, burning the Avs from the again finish. The 2017 Norris Trophy winner because the NHL’s finest defenseman struck for 2 targets and an help in Recreation 2 on Sunday after producing a purpose and three assists in Recreation 1. He led the NHL in scoring amongst defenseman with 83 factors within the common season.
“He’s going to make an impression,” Avs coach Jared Bednar stated of Burns after Sunday’s 4-Three victory over the Sharks to even the sequence 1-1. “We’re making an attempt to reduce that impression on him on a nightly foundation.”
Burns’ 11 playoff factors (4 targets) has him tied for second within the league behind Vegas Golden Knights ahead Mark Stone (12). Avs forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen even have 11 factors, however no reply in easy methods to restrict Burns’ scoring probabilities.
“I don’t know. We’ll need to ask ‘Bedsy,’” MacKinnon stated of Bednar. “We’ll have to determine one thing.”
Burns led the Sharks with 11 photographs in opposition to the Avs within the common season and has produced eight within the first two video games of the sequence. He scored consecutive San Jose targets Sunday to get the Sharks to inside 3-2 and 4-Three late within the recreation.
“He’s clearly a world-class participant, a Norris Trophy winner,” Avs defenseman Ian Cole stated of Burns. “He generates a lot from the again finish. He’s a type of guys who you’re by no means going to utterly shut down. He’s simply too good, particularly as a defenseman — he has numerous house and numerous occasions he’s coming into pucks whereas our forwards are popping out. He’s actually good at shaking them and getting photographs via. I don’t assume you ever utterly shut him down however we have to restrict his probabilities, restrict his appears. We simply need to preserve working him.”
Shock pairing. When speaking concerning the return of defenseman Sam Girard earlier than Recreation 1, Bednar commented on his luxurious of getting three puck-moving offensive-minded defensemen like Burns with every paired with a heavy, shutdown man. Tyson Barrie, Cale Makar and Girard are from the identical ilk, and mix properly with Erik Johnson, Cole and Nikita Zadorov.
However Makar and Girard had been Colorado’s beginning pair in Recreation 2. They every performed with Johnson, Cole at Zadorov at occasions however completed collectively.
“It’s enjoyable taking part in with any of those guys however we’re each dynamic D and we wish to get our ft shifting. So it was enjoyable. We had some enjoyable on the market, G and I,” Makar stated. “We had some good chemistry and hopefully it would proceed.”
Bednar stated reuniting Johnson and Cole as a pairing factored into his resolution to go along with Girard and Makar collectively.
“Makar had an actual good impression final recreation and I used to be anticipating Girard to be higher after lacking a while. He appeared somewhat bit rusty (in Recreation 1),” the coach stated. “Powerful to supply offense in opposition to this workforce — they examine will onerous. So getting these two guys collectively can assist us as a five-man unit and assist produce offense. The second a part of it was, with Girard out (within the Calgary sequence), Cole and Johnson we’re actual good. So we needed to provide it a strive.”
Footnote. The Avalanche traveled to Denver following the sport and can collect at its Centennial observe complicated at 11:30 a.m. Monday for what figures to be an non-compulsory observe.