Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar was not a happy man after watching his team blow an opportunity to take a 3-0 series lead over the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday night.
"The easy answer is this: For five periods straight now, they've been far more competitive than we have. To dissect the game any further than that is a waste of time," he said after Vegas rallied with two third-period goals for a 3-2 win, cutting Colorado's series lead to 2-1.
"We're kidding ourselves if we think that's the competitiveness we need to beat the team that tied us for first in the league. We caught them on an off night in Game 1, we gave them life in Game 2 and we're going to have to compete way harder than [Game 3] in order to beat them. If we haven't realized that, then we're late to the party."
The Golden Knights outplayed the Avalanche in the second half of their Game 2 loss and carried that momentum over to Game 3. Jonathan Marchessault and Max Pacioretty scored 45 seconds apart in the third period on Friday night to put the Knights ahead for good.
Vegas has outshot the Avalanche 84-25 in the past two games.
"The hardest-working player we have right now is [goalie] Philipp Grubauer," Bednar said.
The coach didn't even spare his top line -- Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen -- from his ire. That group produced a power-play goal in Game 3, but none of the three has an even-strength point in their past two games.
"Go ahead and check the numbers on our top guys tonight," Bednar said. "See what they did compared to their top guys. It's not close."
Game 4 between the Avalanche and Golden Knights is at 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday night.