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game recap

Coyotes defeat Avalanche in Game 3, get first win in Western First Round

Kuemper ties career high with 49 saves to help Arizona hang on

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Kuemper's 49-save performance

COL@ARI, Gm3: Kuemper dominates with 49 saves

R1, Gm3: Darcy Kuemper shines between the pipes, making 49 saves to lead the Coyotes to a 4-2 Game 3 victory against the Avalanche

  • 04:07 •

Darcy Kuemper made 49 saves, and the Arizona Coyotes got their first win of the Western Conference First Round, 4-2 against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 3 at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Saturday.

"I'm just trying to go out there and take it one shot at a time and focus on the next save, not really getting caught up in what's going on," said Kuemper, who tied his NHL career high for saves. He also made 49 against the Nashville Predators in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, a 4-3 overtime win Aug. 7. "Today we did a really good job of defending. We really defend well as a unit, everyone buys in, and it makes it a lot easier to see the puck."

Game 4 of the best-of-7 series is in Edmonton, the Western hub city, on Monday (5:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, FX-CA, TVAS, FS-A, FS-A PLUS, ALT).

 

[WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Coyotes highlights]

 

Derek Stepan, Brad Richardson, Taylor Hall and Lawson Crouse scored for the Coyotes, the No. 7 seed in the West.

"This is a big win for us," Arizona coach Rick Tocchet said. "It's going to relax some guys. It's the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs, though. Anything can happen. You have to be ready for it. We just gave ourselves another opportunity winning this game. I think guys believe that [it was a] good win, but they know they have to play better, and I like that. It's not like we're sitting there patting each other on the back. I do like the fact that they know they have to play better to win the next game."

Video: COL@ARI, Gm3: Keller sets up Stepan down low

Andre Burakovsky and Mikko Rantanen scored, and Pavel Francouz made 19 saves for the Avalanche, the No. 2 seed.

"I didn't think we shot the puck real well," Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. "Now that it's all said and done and you look at some of the chances and yet we don't capitalize on them. We have to find a way to get in Kuemper's eyes a little bit more. If he's seeing them, he's stopping them. He had a great night tonight. You've got to tip your cap to him and the Coyotes. They forced us into a couple turnovers and capitalized on them, and we couldn't find a way to put enough goals into the back of the net."

Arizona took its first lead of the series at 6:29 of the first period when Stepan scored from in front off a pass from Clayton Keller after Francouz lost his stick.

"First goal we turned the puck over in (defensive) zone coverage and had guys go for a skate and they couldn't get back, so we're trailing right away," Bednar said.

Colorado tied it 1-1 at 13:12 of the second period when Burakovsky's shot from the right point went in off Arizona defenseman Alex Goligoski.

Richardson put the Coyotes in front 2-1 at 19:26 with a shot from the left face-off circle after the Avalanche turned the puck over and made a line change.

"It was big timing on the goal," Richardson said. "It was nice momentum for us. They've had a lead a lot of the series, so it was nice to have that lead and we were able to lock it down in the third period."

Video: COL@ARI, Gm3: Richardson goes top shelf for lead

Hall scored into an empty net to make it 3-1 with 1:20 left in the third.

Rantanen scored with 57 seconds left to make it 3-2 with Francouz on the bench for an extra attacker.

Crouse scored into an empty net with five seconds remaining for the 4-2 final.

The Avalanche outshot the Coyotes 15-6 in the third period.

Kuemper made 20 saves in the first period, the most in a postseason period in Coyotes history. He held the previous record of 19, set in Game 3 against Nashville on Aug. 5.

"[Kuemper] made a ton of great saves," Richardson said. "He's played great for a long time for us. We're not surprised by that. We spent a lot of time in our zone in the third, but we held the fort."

The Coyotes blocked 27 shots, including four each by Stepan and defenseman Jason Demers.

"We knew it wasn't going to be an easy series," Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "We knew this wasn't going to be an easy game. We'll be ready for Monday. [Kuemper] made some saves, for sure. I think we can still make it harder on him and get in front of him and take his eyes away.

"It's one of those things, you look back at all the scoring chances we had, any other different night I'm sure one of those goes into the net, or a couple of them at least. We've just got to stick with it, it's as simple as that."

Colorado forward Vladislav Namestnikov and Arizona forward Nick Schmaltz were 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: Kuemper's strong effort lifts Coyotes by Avalanche

NHL.com staff writer Pete Jensen contributed to this report

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