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NHL - US Sports: Avalanche focussed on being at their best

Coach Jared Bednar believes the Colorado Avalanche aren't resting on their laurels, but instead are aiming to keep improving as they head into the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Avalanche, 15/4 to win the Stanley Cup in 2021/22, officially clinched a spot in the post-season with a 6-4 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, a foregone conclusion for a team who lead the NHL standings with a 51-14-6 record.

Strong season

Colorado were the first team in the NHL to record 40 and 50 wins as well as the first to reach 100 points (now 108).

Despite their comfortable position in the regular season, the 50-year-old believes his team have learnt from previous disappointment in the playoffs and are refusing to take their foot off the gas.

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Most recently, Colorado beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-4 in overtime on Friday, with defenceman Cale Makar scoring the game-winner on the powerplay.

The Avalanche won the Presidents' Trophy as the team with the best regular season record in last season's shortened campaign (39-13-4).

After sweeping the St. Louis Blues in the first-round, Colorado ran into the Vegas Golden Knights who knocked them out over six games, their third defeat at the second-round stage in as many seasons.

Deserved new deal

Bednar is in a sixth season with the Avalanche. In November 2021, he became the winningest coach in their franchise history and signed a new two-year contract extension.

He said to the media: "We have a talented group with high expectations. It's hard not to like the season we've had to this point.

"I feel like we're still improving at this point in the year. That's what we want to do right until the bitter end. We're going to keep working on our game. Guys have bought into that and they're doing that."

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