This time, the Colorado Avalanche took advantage of their fast start.
Nathan MacKinnon scored two goals, while Blake Comeau, Gabriel Bourque and Gabriel Landeskog added markers Monday night as Colorado roared out to a four-goal lead en route to a 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators in Game 3 of their best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal in Denver.
The result cut Nashville’s series lead to 2-1, with Game 4 set for Wednesday night in Denver. The Avalanche ended a 12-game losing streak to the Predators that dated back to April 2016.
The Avalanche scored on their first shot in each of the first two games in Nashville but weren’t able to build on their early leads, taking 5-2 and 5-4 defeats. In this one, they waited until their second shot to light the lamp, but they kept playing add-on.
Comeau initiated scoring just 1:50 into the match, chipping Carl Soderberg’s centering pass over Predators goalie Pekka Rinne for his second tally of the series. Bourque, one of three former Nashville players on the Colorado roster, made it 2-0 at 13:24 of the first with a redirection of Patrik Nemeth’s point blast for his second goal.
MacKinnon upped the advantage to 3-0 at 18:07 of the first when Landeskog sent him in on a breakaway. Splitting two defenders, MacKinnon flicked a wrister just inside the right post.
Rinne’s game concluded at 4:25 of the second when a failed defensive coverage left MacKinnon all alone in the slot. The Colorado center placed a wrister inside the left post for his third goal of the playoffs, sending Rinne to the bench after saving 11 of 15 shots.
Juuse Saros replaced Rinne and gave the Predators a chance to rally. He stopped all 18 shots he faced.
Nashville got on the board during a five-on-three power play at 10:23 of the second period. Ryan Johansen collected the rebound of Filip Forsberg’s shot and shoveled it past Colorado goalie Jonathan Bernier for his second marker.
Colton Sissons brought the Predators within two goals at 7:12 of the third period when he tapped in Roman Josi’s centering pass. However, Landeskog sealed it when he was awarded an empty-net marker at 18:24 after Ryan Ellis pulled him down from behind in front of the net.
Austin Watson scored his third goal in as many games for Nashville at 18:45.
Bernier finished the night with 29 saves, earning his 11th consecutive home win.
—Field Level Media