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game recap

Avalanche score six against Flames in Game 3, take series lead

Makar gets goal in NHL debut, MacKinnon has three points for Colorado

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

Makar scores in first NHL game

CGY@COL, Gm3: Makar scores in NHL debut

R1, Gm3: Cale Makar slips a wrist shot through the pads of Mike Smith in his first NHL game to the delight of his parents in the crowd

  • 00:59 •

DENVER -- Cale Makar scored in his NHL debut for the Colorado Avalanche in a 6-2 win against the Calgary Flames in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round at Pepsi Center on Monday.

The Avalanche lead the best-of-7 series 2-1. Game 4 is at Colorado on Wednesday.

Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and an assist, Erik Johnson, Matt Nieto and Mikko Rantanen each had a goal and an assist, and Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves for Colorado.


[WATCH: Flames vs. Avalanche Game 3 highlights | Complete series coverage]


"We're just trying to get to four wins," MacKinnon said. "We're being very aggressive and guys were involved with a shooting mentality. We feel good, but at the same time, we got to move on. It's two wins now, but we need to regroup and get ready for a huge game Wednesday."

Mike Smith made 50 saves for Calgary.

"It's one game, it's a long series," Smith said. "They outworked us tonight, they outscored us. They were better in a lot of areas. The great thing about the NHL playoffs, you have to win four. You have to have that mindset."

MacKinnon gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead at 8:26 of the first period on 5-on-3 power play, using Gabriel Landeskog as a screen and scoring short side from the right circle.

Video: CGY@COL, Gm3: MacKinnon opens scoring with PPG

He made it 2-0 at 13:34 with another power-play goal, finishing off a tic-tac-toe passing play with Landeskog and Rantanen on a one-timer from the left circle.

"It's our job to step up in the playoffs," MacKinnon said. "My legs feel good, I could play all night."

Makar extended the lead to 3-0 at 16:02 when his first shot beat Smith five-hole. He is the seventh different player, and first defenseman, in NHL history to make their NHL debut in the playoffs and score a goal.

"[MacKinnon] made a really good drop pass there and honestly, I just tried to get it inside the [defense] and try to slip one on net and hope for the rebound," Makar said. "Fortunately, it went in."

Nieto made it 4-0 at 7:51 of the second period with a shorthanded goal. Smith stopped Ian Cole on a breakaway, but Nieto put in the rebound from the left circle. He is the first player to score a shorthanded goal in consecutive team games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since Max Talbot did it for the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Video: CGY@COL, Gm3: Nieto buries rebound for SHG

Sam Bennett cut it to 4-1 at 8:34 on the same power play when Rasmus Andersson's pass deflected in off his leg, but Rantanen pushed the lead to 5-1 with his first NHL playoff goal at 12:58. 

Flames coach Bill Peters said he considered replacing Smith with David Rittich after the second period.

"We talked about it and asked him what he wanted to do, and he wanted to stay in and battle," Peters said. "That's what he is, a battler. He made a lot of saves. We gave up, what 56? There are some things we need to correct."  

Johnson scored 54 seconds into the third period on a 4-on-4 to make it 6-1, and TJ Brodie scored 15 seconds later on a redirection of Noah Hanifin's shot to make it 6-2.

Video: CGY@COL, Gm3: Brodie redirects shot past Grubauer


They said it

"They had a lot of quality looks. We've got to regroup here and stick together as a team. We know our compete level, No. 1, has to go way up. We have to be smarter with our decisions with the puck, everything across the board. There wasn't much good, honestly, throughout the night. Made that team look and feel good all night. They looked like they were making plays and feeling good about themselves. We'll come back and regroup, and we need to win this next one and get it back to our home-ice advantage." -- Flames captain Mark Giordano

"I thought [Makar] was good, right from the get-go he was involved. He looked calm, cool, collected. He obviously makes a nice play jumping up in the rush and getting the goal, getting his shot off, and there was some deception to it. And then he followed it up with a big play in the defensive zone when we got caught on a short 2-on-1 down the boards and a guy open at the net. He lays his stick down, breaks it up, and it comes back to him and he still gets another block. I liked him. He uses his legs, he executes, he was good tonight." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar


Need to know

Colorado's 56 shots were tied for second most in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history. The Avalanche had 57 in Game 4 of the 1996 Western Conference Semifinals against the Chicago Blackhawks. … The Avalanche scored at least six goals in the playoffs for the first time since defeating the San Jose Sharks 8-2 in Game 2 of the 2002 conference semifinals. …Colorado went 2-for-8 on the power play after going 0-for-8 in the first two games. … Avalanche forward Derick Brassard was a late scratch because of an illness. … The teams combined for 21 penalties and 76 minutes.


What's next

Game 4 of Western Conference First Round at Pepsi Center on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, ALT)

Video: Avalanche rout Flames to take 2-1 series lead

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