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Colorado Avalanche Playoff Game Day: A Chance to Even the Series on Home Ice

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Wanted: Avalanche Offense

San Jose Sharks v Colorado Avalanche - Game Three Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Before Tuesday night, the Colorado Avalanche hadn’t lost a home game (regular season or playoff) since March 15. That span included their two wins over the Calgary Flames in the first round.

Tuesday night saw a slow start and a few untimely penalties that gave the game to the San Jose Sharks, and the Avs will have to be at the top of their game to even this series at 2-2.


Colorado Avalanche

The Avs need to make the most of their home ice advantage. After tonight, they will be heading back to northern California for Game 5. Parts of their game are going well, but others need some adjustments before they take the ice again.

With his second period goal on Tuesday, Nathan MacKinnon extended his post-season points streak to seven games. He now has 12 points (five goals) in the playoffs this year, and 28 career playoff points.

In addition to receiving contributions from veterans, 20-year-olds Samuel Girard and Cale Makar both assisted on Matt Nieto’s third period goal. Makar already has three assists in just six NHL games.

Matt Calvert sat out of Game 3 after taking a hard hit from Brent Burns at the end of Game 2. Sven Andrighetto took his place on the third line. Calvert could be back tonight, after practicing yesterday in a regular sweater. The team could use him, after he had two crucial assists in the third period, including for the game winning goal in Game 2.

**Editor note - Matt Calvert is back in the lineup tonight

Forwards

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Alexander Kerfoot

Colin Wilson - Carl Soderberg - Mikko Rantanen

Sven Andrighetto - J.T. Compher - Matt Nieto

Gabriel Bourque - Tyson Jost - Derick Brassard

Defense

Ian Cole - Erik Johnson

Nikita Zadorov - Tyson Barrie

Samuel Girard - Cale Makar


San Jose Sharks

Logan Couture has been the Avs nemesis this entire series. He had a hat trick on Tuesday (one was an empty net goal in the third period), and also recorded an assist in Game 1. Between him and Timo Meier who also had three points in Game 3, the Sharks first line is causing all sorts of problems for the Avs defense. Just for good measure, Gustav Nyquist had two assists as well.

Commentators have been noting that the combined ages of Girard and Makar are only a year older than Joe Thornton, but he hasn’t been playing like a 39-year-old. The Sharks defense was able to stop the Avs in the neutral zone and convert several turnovers in Game 3.

Forwards

Timo Meier - Logan Couture - Gustav Nyquist

Evander Kane - Marcus Sorensen - Dylan Gambrell

Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Barclay Goodrow

Lukas Radil - Kevin Labanc - Melker Karlsson

Defense

Marc-Édouard Vlasic - Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon - Erik Karlsson

Joakim Ryan - Justin Braun


Starting Goalies

Philipp Grubauer stopped 27 of 30 shots in Game 3, and has a .886 save percentage in the series. He has made several crucial saves in the playoffs and has kept the Avs in games when the offense is slow. Grubauer has stayed hot through the second half of the season and the playoffs, and I don’t see any signs of him slowing down.

Martin Jones has not given up a first period goal in either of the last two games. He saved 25 of 27 shots on Tuesday, and only MacKinnon and Nieto could get past him. Playing at Pepsi Center didn’t seem to phase him at all.