Sunday was a rarity for the Avalanche: An actual full-squad, off-day practice.
The Avalanche enters Monday’s Game 1 against St. Louis with three days of rest for only the second time this season (non-COVID-19-related) — Jan. 16-18 and Feb. 17-19.
Coach Jared Bednar gave the players Friday off and ran an optional skate Saturday.
During the regular season, the Avalanche played 56 games in 121 days.
“There hasn’t been a whole lot of practice all year, really,” Avs captain Gabe Landeskog said. “It’s been morning skates, play and then optional skates on days off. Some of the drills we were doing out there are drills we do every single practice during a normal season so you get to know them pretty well. But (Sunday), we had to go over a few of them just to refresh our minds.
“It’s been different scheduling-wise this year and we’ve had to play (things) by ear and (Bednar) has done a good job making sure we get the rest. You have a couple of days off the ice and a good practice (Sunday) — we’ll be ready to go (Monday).”
Landeskog played only seven playoff games in his first six Avalanche seasons, but the franchise is in the postseason for the fourth consecutive year.
“We’re excited to get going and for the best part of the year to start,” he said. “You go the whole regular season and prepare and put yourself in a good spot for success in the postseason — that’s all that matters and taking a run at this thing.”
Perron misses practice. The Blues flew to Denver Saturday night and practiced Sunday at Ball Arena. Left wing David Perron did not skate after being placed on the league’s COVID-19 list.
Coach Craig Berube dodged several questions with the St. Louis media about Perron’s status, declining to answer if Perron was in Denver.
Perron led the Blues with 58 regular-season points and played all 56 games.
“He’s the heart and soul of this team,” center Ryan O’Reilly said.
Said Avalanche winger Nathan MacKinnon: “Obviously, (Perron) is a snipper and a great player, but nothing changes for us. … We’re going to respect everybody on their team. We’re not going to ease up because he’s (possibly) out.”
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, O’Reilly was flanked by Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz during practice.
“(Schenn), obviously, I’ve played with quite a bit and he’s a good two-way player that does everything and (Schwartz), too (with) his work ethic, the way he sees the game, the little plays he makes — I think it’s going to be an effective line,” O’Reilly said. “If we go out and work, we’re going to find a way to turn pucks over, create momentum and creating offense. We have to be leading the way.”
Briefly. Berube said defenseman Vince Dunn (no games since April 24) had a little “bug so we kept him off the ice” and he is “not sure” if winger Vladimir Tarasenko (one game since April 29) will play. … Avs defenseman Bo Byram, who hasn’t played March 25, has skated with the team the last two days. “He’s missed a significant amount of time, but we’re trying to get him back up to speed and hopefully he’s an option for us at some point,” Bednar said. … The Blues and Avalanche are playing each other in the playoffs for the first time since 2001. The Avs won the conference final series in five games on its way to the Stanley Cup.