The long wait it almost over the Colorado Avalanche.
By the time faceoff against the Tampa Bay Lightning rolls around in game one of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night, the Avs will have had eight full days off and will not have played in nine days since clinching the sweep of the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Final on June 6.
No big deal.
"At this point in the year, it's not very hard to get up for the games," Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen said on Monday. "It's the Final, so it doesn't matter if it would be a 40 day break. Everybody will be mentally ready to play. We have had a couple good practices, we have tomorrow [Tuesday] and the morning skake [on Wednesday]. I don't think it's going to be a problem and for sure not any excuse. It's every individual's responsibility to be ready."
The Avs will have to be ready to handle the Lightning, which is 12-5 in the playoffs and features goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.
But the Avalanche has a lot going for it, too. The Avs are 12-2 this postseason, they had the second-highest point total in the NHL this year, and they beat the Lightning twice during the regular season. Does all that make them the favorite to win their first Cup since the 2000-2001 season?
Colorado forward Andre Burakovsky doesn't care either way.
"We have to just put the focus on our group," Burakovsky said. "We're not going to focus on [are] we the favorites or underdog or anything like that. We're here to play our game, find our own success, not trying to focus too much on the outside of things we cannot control."
The Avalanche and Lightning get the Stanley Cup Final started with game one on Wednesday, June 15 at Ball Arena. Faceoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. MDT.
Click/tap on the photo below for the full remarks from Rantanen and Burakovsky.