KUSA - From street hockey in Sweden or a frozen pond in Canada, many of the Avalanche players aren't too far removed from their childhood dreams of playing in a game seven. It drove them growing up - and now it's directly in front of them.
The atmosphere, the pressure and the emotions are all heightened, but it's controlling yourself mentally that can be the biggest factor.
"Trying to bring yourself down is actually more important than bringing yourself up. Everyone is going to be up," forward Matt Duchene said. Using the experience of a gold medal game - as he competed with team Canada in Sochi - he knows that focus and harnessing these feelings (butterflies?) are more crucial than the physical acts of playing.
"We all lived and dreamed to play in these games so it's a special opportunity for us," he continued.
It will be the 10th such game seven in Avalanche history - they are 4-5 in these intense games.
Colorado holds the home-ice advantage which they earned throughout the regular season. It's a position head coach Patrick Roy knew they might need as they tracked down the St. Louis Blues for the Central Division title. Although this is a game they've prepared for all their lives, Roy asserted that you know never know if you're truly ready until you're in the moment.
"It's a great experience for these guys. You cannot win a Stanley Cup without winning a game seven and here we are," the former goalie - who played in thirteen win-or-go-home games himself - said. "Our players are going to learn to play a game seven, how good is this? They are excited about it and they should be.
The Avalanche were incapable of closing out the Wild in game six on the road as they fell 5-2 on Monday. Their confidence has yet to waver though - and their nerves remain in check.They will need to be hungry, but calm. They figure to be poised, but giddily amped.
ntil the puck drops on game seven, Colorado cannot afford to get caught up in the ambient hype all around them.
"I think you have to embrace the pressure," 18-year-old rookie Nathan MacKinnon said. "There's pressure to win from everybody around you but I think it's important that we put so much pressure on ourselves that we forget about the outside pressure."
The moment of game seven can easily overwhelm even the most experienced players. Not letting it become too big is a difficult task - playing out the dream game itself isn't.