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Stanley Cup Final Notebook: The Coaches Speak

Neither team practiced on Thursday, with the expectation they'll hit the ice again on Friday in the second day off. The players didn't do availabilities, but the coaches still had a lot to say.
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DENVER - Game 1 is in the books, with two days off between games to let both teams get rested for the biggest grind of the season.

Neither team practiced on Thursday, with the expectation they'll hit the ice again on Friday in the second day off. The players didn't do availabilities, but the coaches still did:

- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said he did a lot of scouting of Tampa's series against Toronto and New York to learn a bit about how the Lightning play defensively. Tampa needed seven games to beat Toronto after falling down 3-2 and started the series against the Rangers down 0-2.

- On the Leafs series specifically: “It was a dynamic series. And I see a lot of similarities in the Leafs’ players and personnel to ours."

- On a radio show on Altitude on Thursday, Bednar had a positive update on Nazem Kadri and Andrew Cogliano, for the most part. He said “I think they’ve gotten better. I think there’s a possibility that we see one or both of those guys. Time will tell. It’s still a day-to-day process. They’re putting in a bunch of work in the training room to get ready and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to see them at some point.”

- Both players skated with coaches later in the morning.

- During his post-game availability, Lightning coach said "the better team won" after the Avalanche took a 4-3 victory. The Bolts fought back from being down 3-1 after the first period, but the metrics favored Colorado the whole way.

- Cooper appreciated the extra off day for both teams, especially for those fighting injuries. "The Brayden Points could use that extra day. The Brandon Hagels could use that extra day. That's a good thing. When you lose a game in overtime, at times, you almost want to play the next night."

- Cooper called Vasilevskiy the best Lightning player in Game 1, despite a tough start for the star netminder. "I'm a big believer in letting your goalie fight through a game," Cooper said Thursday. "I think there's got to be some trust, communication. Vasilevskiy and I have been together for about eight years now. I like to give him a chance to fight through it. Clearly, I'm not an early pull guy."

- The Tampa Bay Lightning have lost twice in a row just once since 2019, coming in the third-round series against the New York Rangers.

- The Colorado Avalanche have won Game 1 in all four playoff rounds this year. The last team to do that was the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks.

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