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MacKinnon dazzles at home for Avalanche in Game 3 win against Predators

Forward picks up where he left off in regular season, scores two goals

by Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon has performed regardless of venue this season, but he's been especially dazzling at Pepsi Center.

MacKinnon is relentless, aggressive and dominant. It was hardly a surprise that when the Avalanche needed him to step up on Monday, he did exactly that.

MacKinnon scored two goals, including the game-winner, to help the Avalanche to a 5-3 victory against the Nashville Predators in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round. The Predators have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series; Game 4 is here on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS, SN, ALT, FS-TN).

 

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

 

MacKinnon, who had seven shots on goal and logged 22:11 of ice time, is picking up where he left off in the regular season. Of his 97 points (39 goals, 58 assists), 67 of them (27 goals, 40 assists) came at home. Colorado was 28-11-2 at Pepsi Center during the regular season.

"I think he thrives on the energy at the building. He gets up for it," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "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."

MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog were dangerous, especially in the first two periods when Landeskog had the primary assist on each of MacKinnon's goals. On MacKinnon's first goal, Landeskog got tangled up with Mike Fisher but stole the puck from the Predators center and passed to MacKinnon, who scored on a breakaway to give the Avalanche a 3-0 lead at 18:07 of the first period.

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

"Desperate times call for desperate measures," Landeskog said. "I reached with my stick and caught it. You've got to get lucky sometimes, and Nate did a good job of putting that in."

MacKinnon's second goal at 4:25 of the second period was the last shot Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne faced; he was replaced by Juuse Saros after allowing four goals on 15 shots.

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

"He's been our rock all season long and he's carried this team through a lot of the season," forward Blake Comeau said of MacKinnon. "He played outstanding again tonight. A big performance by him, big performance by his line."

The Avalanche scored first for the third consecutive game. But unlike the first two games at Nashville, the Avalanche cut down on costly errors and held off a late surge by the Predators. They weren't perfect, but they were better.

"We did a really good job of staying aggressive and staying on the gas," Landeskog said. "There's still room for improvement with special teams and things like that. But it was a good start and we kept going."

Video: NSH@COL, Gm3: Comeau buries Soderberg's great feed

The Avalanche have confidence at home. So does MacKinnon, and it was evident in the individual and team game.

"I thought we proved in the first two games that we could compete and outplayed them a lot," MacKinnon said. "We proved to ourselves we can get a win, and hopefully it just kind of snowballs from here."

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