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game recap

Avalanche shut out Coyotes in Game 1 of Western First Round

Score three times in 1:23 span in third, Grubauer makes 14 saves for Colorado

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Avs score three goals in 1:23

ARI@COL, Gm1: Avalanche erupt for three goals in 3rd

R1, Gm1: Nazem Kadri ends the scoreless tie on the power play, as Mikko Rantanen buries a great pass to cap the Avalanche's three-goal 3rd

  • 00:53 •

The Colorado Avalanche scored three goals in 1:23 in the third period for a 3-0 win against the Arizona Coyotes in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Wednesday. 

Mikko Rantanen, J.T. Compher and Nazem Kadri scored, and Philipp Grubauer made 14 saves for the Avalanche, the No. 2 seed in the West.

Darcy Kuemper made 37 saves for the Coyotes, the No. 7 seed in the West.

"It's nothing that we didn't expect to be coming our way, to be honest with you, coming into this series," Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. "Arizona's a real tight-checking team, they're always above pucks, they make you work for every inch of ice that you can get. And it's not easy to get to the net on them, and when you do make enough plays and do enough good things to get a good scoring chance, you run into Kuemper.

"We just wanted to make sure we were doing enough to make it difficult on Kuemper, that we were getting to the front of the net, that we were making good decisions with the puck and not start trying to force things, and I thought our guys did a nice job of it."

 

[WATCH: All Coyotes vs. Avalanche Game 1 highlights]

 

Teams that win Game 1 are 478-219 (68.6 percent) winning a best-of-7 NHL playoff series.

Game 2 is in Edmonton, the hub city in the West, on Friday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN360, ALT, FS-A, FS-A PLUS).

"It might be a little bit too many shots, but at the same time it kind of felt like we were keeping them on the outside," Arizona defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson said. "They were coming from the blue line and we know [Kuemper] is a good goalie and he's going to stop them if he sees the pucks. At the same time, we've got to create more. I thought we backed off a little too much and maybe gave them a little too much respect."

Arizona coach Rick Tocchet said, "I'm just disappointed in the club because of a big opportunity. We had a terrible practice yesterday. I really don't want to get into more, the players know how I feel. Darcy Kuemper kept us in, that's basically it. There's nothing really else to say."

The Coyotes had a chance to score first at 8:08 of the third period when Colorado forward Andre Burakovsky was penalized for holding.

"Scary thing, it's a 0-0 hockey game and we get a power play, and the power play stinks, and then you saw what happened," Tocchet said. "It's Darcy, Darcy, Darcy, and that's it."

Kadri gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead at 13:05 on a power play, off the rebound of Cale Makar's shot.

"I'm out there with some pretty good players, so I just try to find some soft areas in the ice, just to get open, whether it's a rebound or a tip or whatever the case is," Kadri said. "I just try to find some space. I was able to get in front of the net. I think Cale teed it up, and I was able to bang in the rebound."

Video: Grubauer earns Wednesday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

Compher made it 2-0 at 13:15 with a backhand in the slot. Rantanen increased the lead to 3-0 at 14:28 when he skated to the net to put in a pass from Nathan MacKinnon, who didn't have a shot on goal after leading the NHL this season.

"We just wanted to get some traffic in front of Kuemper," Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson said. "He's a real good goalie. He's probably the rock of their team. He's played well all year. He's played well in the qualifiers. Part of the game plan was just to get some guys in front of his eyes, make it a little bit difficult on him, but for the most part, we just stuck with it. Sometimes it's not pretty. Sometimes it's just a couple rebounds like you saw there to get the job done. But from my vantage point, we stuck with it and showed patience and maturity."

The Avalanche were 1-for-2 on power plays, the Coyotes were 0-for-2.

"Winning the special teams is huge in the playoffs and we need to do a better job," Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "They scored on the power play and we have to find a way to shut that off. That gave them a lot of momentum. We have to do a better job on the special teams next game."

Arizona forward Nick Schmaltz was ruled unfit to play. As part of the NHL Return to Play Plan, a team is not permitted to disclose player injury or illness information.

Video: Avs surge past Coyotes in Game 1 with three-goal 3rd

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