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Avs Look to Maintain Home-Ice Advantage in Game 4

Colorado won 6-2 in Game 3 at Pepsi Center on Monday

by Dan Vatch /

CENTENNIAL, Colo.--The atmosphere at Pepsi Center helped ignited the Colorado Avalanche's offense early in Game 3 of the team's first-round series with the Calgary Flames on Monday.

Colorado scored three times in the first period and outshot Calgary 56-29 in the contest to earn a 6-2 win with a dominating performance in the third game of the best-of-seven set on Monday to take a 2-1 advantage in the first-round matchup.

"Of course at home, especially in the first game, when you wait for the whole year to play in the playoffs and we get our first game, it gives us a lot of energy," Rantanen said of the energy in the Mile High City. "The way the Pepsi Can was rocking last night was pretty awesome."

Nathan MacKinnon sent the Pepsi Center faithful into a frenzy early in the contest with two power-play tallies in the opening frame, the Avs' first markers with the man advantage in the series.

Just after Colorado claimed a 2-0 lead, newly-signed defenseman Makar lit the lamp in his first game as a member of the Avalanche.

"He's a great hockey player and certainly with a ton of poise and a ton of patience," veteran D-man Ian Cole said of Makar. "He's a young kid, but he certainly handles all the whirlwind and the circus of coming in in a playoff series he handles it with the utmost poise and maturity, which speaks a lot to him as a person. Obviously, you see how he can contribute as a player, so we're happy to have him."

Matt Nieto also found the back of the net in the contest at Pepsi Center on the penalty kill in the second frame, his second short-handed goal in as many games. Nieto has tied a franchise record for shorty's in a single playoff year and series.

"It could definitely kill some momentum, getting a penalty-kill goal," said Nieto. "It was huge for our team, our penalty kill has done a great job. All they guys that are killing take pride in it and we're finding ways to get the job done."

A day after the win, the Avalanche held an optional skate at its practice facility, Family Sports Center, in Centennial.

Forwards Sven Andrighetto, Gabriel Bourque and Tyson Jost were joined by defensemen Ryan Graves and Cale Makar while netminder Semyon Varlamov was the only masked man on the ice. Samuel Girard and Vladislav Kamenev also skated in red, non-contact jerseys.

The Avalanche will look to take a 3-1 series lead at Pepsi Center on Wednesday night with the game start scheduled for 8 p.m. MT.

"We're really confident. We've been confident from the start that we think we can come out of this series," added Nieto. "With that being said, I think Calgary is going to come out with some more fire next game and next game's a huge game for us. We have to have that same start we had last game. We came out right away, played our game and the atmosphere was great. We had all the energy on our side."


Defenseman Samuel Girard was on the ice in a red, non-contact jersey prior to the optional skate on Tuesday after missing Monday's game with an upper-body injury.

Head coach Jared Bednar noted that the blueliner was making progress and is a possibility for Game 4 but no decisions have been made yet.

The Roverbal, Quebec, native played in Games 1 and 2 in Calgary before leaving Game 2 in overtime after a high hit from the Flames' Sam Bennett.

Forward Derick Brassard was ill and also missed Monday's game. He is still recovering and did not go to the rink on Tuesday.

Video: Avs coach Jared Bednar talks betweens Games 3 and 4

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