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game recap

MacKinnon's two goals help Avalanche top Predators in Game 3

Fast start sparks Colorado to first win of series

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

DENVER -- Nathan MacKinnon scored two goals to help the Colorado Avalanche defeat the Nashville Predators 5-3 in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round at Pepsi Center on Monday.

The Predators lead 2-1 in the best-of-7 series.

Gabriel Bourque, Blake Comeau and Gabriel Landeskog scored, and Jonathan Bernier made 29 saves for Colorado.

The Avalanche lost 12 consecutive games to the Predators since a 4-3 win on March 28, 2016 at Nashville.


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


"We've been good at home all season and it carried over to tonight, which is great," MacKinnon said. "I thought we proved in the first two games that we can compete. We outplayed them a lot in Nashville.

"Tonight, the first 40 (minutes) we were great. In the third, we were solid. I think we proved to ourselves that we can get a win. Hopefully it just snowballs from here."

Austin Watson, Ryan Johansen and Colton Sissons scored, and Pekka Rinne made 11 saves for the Predators. Juuse Saros (18 saves) relieved Rinne after MacKinnon scored his second goal at 4:25 of the second period to make it 4-0.

Video: NSH@COL, Gm3: Johansen buries rebound for PPG

"We weren't very good in front of him," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "I didn't think we were giving him the support he needed. It wasn't a sharp game for us. We left (him) in after the first to see if we would be better. Got him out of there and put Juuse in there to try to change the momentum, change the swing in the game."

The Avalanche took a 3-0 lead in the first period.

"We did a really good job of staying aggressive and staying on the gas even after we scored," Landeskog said.

Comeau had a step on Filip Forsberg as he skated to the net to deflect Carl Soderberg's pass over Rinne's glove at 1:50 for a 1-0 lead.

Patrik Nemeth's shot from the left point went in off Bourque at 13:24 to make it 2-0.

Video: NSH@COL, Gm3: Bourque tips Nemeth's shot past Rinne

Landeskog outbattled Mike Fisher for the puck and fed MacKinnon for a clean breakaway at 18:07 for a 3-0 lead.

"I ended up getting tripped up by somebody and just kind of fell," Landeskog said. "I just reacted. Desperate times calls for desperate measures, and I just kind of reached with my stick and ended up catching it. Got to get lucky sometimes. Nate did a good job putting it in."

The Avalanche have scored first in all three games of the series.

"We had good starts in Nashville, we just couldn't hold leads there," MacKinnon said. "We held the lead tonight and added onto it."

MacKinnon's second goal made it 4-0 at 4:25 of the second period. MacKinnon scored from the slot after Mikko Rantanen's pass was deflected to him by Kyle Turris.

Johansen made it 4-1 at 10:33 of the second period during a 5-on-3 power play. Bernier made a save against Forsberg, but Johansen converted the rebound.

Sissons made it 4-2 at 7:12 of the third period on a 2-on-1 with Roman Josi.

Video: NSH@COL, Gm3: Sissons taps home Josi's great pass

Landeskog was credited with an empty-net goal at 18:24 when he was tripped by defenseman Ryan Ellis for a 5-2 lead.

Watson scored at 18:45 to make it 5-3.

"I felt pretty good right off the bat," Bernier said. "There's been a lot of goals in this series, but some funny bounces. I think you just have to stay the course and make sure you stay on your game. That's all I worry about."


Goal of the game

MacKinnon's goal at 4:25 of the second period.

Video: NSH@COL, Gm3: MacKinnon pots second goal of the game


Save of the game

Bernier against Forsberg at 12:57 of the third period.

Video: NSH@COL, Gm3: Bernier absorbs Forsberg's quick shot


Highlight of the game

MacKinnon's goal at 18:07 of the first period.

Video: NSH@COL, Gm3: MacKinnon buries breakaway goal


They said it

"There's a tremendous hockey team across from us. It doesn't matter who you play in our league, that's the beauty of it. If you're not at your best, you'll lose. So, we just need to make sure we're ready for Game 4 to bring our best from all the men in this room. We do that, we believe we'll be successful." -- Predators forward Ryan Johansen


"I think he thrives on the energy at the building. He gets up for it. He's just so explosive at home, he's dangerous every time he touches the puck at home, he's focused and for 40 minutes of that game he was dominant for me." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar on forward Nathan MacKinnon


Need to know

Forsberg's assist gave him 29 points (17 goals, 12 assists) in 45 NHL playoff games to move ahead of David Legwand and Shea Weber for the most in Predators history. … The Avalanche went 0-for-5 on power plays and are 1-for-13 in the series. … The Predators went 1-for-3 and are 3-for-10 in the series. … Nashville won 19 of 31 faceoffs in the third period.


What's next

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

Video: Landeskog, MacKinnon lead Avalanche to Game 3 win

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