The Colorado Avalanche defeated the Seattle Kraken in Game 3 of their first round series by a score of 6-4, taking a 2-1 series lead in the process. The Avs stars finally all woke up collectively in this series tonight, as their trio of Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, and Mikko Rantanen were the catalysts for the offensive explosion.
The 1st Period:
The energy in Climate Pledge Arena was surreal, and the hope of a consistent start was important for Colorado. Already down Valeri Nichushkin and Darren Helm for this game, the task of settling into a hostile environment was going to be difficult. This was made significantly more difficult by a Ben Meyers slashing penalty under three minutes into the contest. While the Avs would kill off this penalty, Seattle would take advantage of the momentum they were riding, and Jaden Schwartz deflected home the first home playoff goal in Kraken history after some net front chaos. Once again, the Avs failed to start a game on time, a trend so far in this series and gave up the game’s first goal.
Jaden Schwartz with the first ever #StanleyCup Playoffs goal at @ClimateArena and the fans are LOVING it!— NHL (@NHL) April 23, 2023
: @NHL_On_TNT ➡️ https://t.co/oaJG9t1U2v #NHLonTNT
: @Sportsnet ➡️ https://t.co/c0FJF22IZL #NHLonSN pic.twitter.com/QG2TxhjEWR
Fortunately the Avs were able to calm down and get their feet under themselves, albeit down a tally. After a series of quality shots that luck would change on a late-period penalty kill after a questionable interference call to Samuel Girard, as Kraken winger Daniel Sprong tripped over himself defending a shorthanded 2-on-2 rush from Cale Makar and J.T. Compher. The latter attacked the lane that opened up with Sprong out of the picture, then Makar sent him on a mini-breakaway and beat Philipp Grubauer to the backhand to even the score. In the closing minute Nathan MacKinnon broke his silence, notching his first goal of the 2023 playoffs in signature Nate Dogg fashion on a breakaway in which his stick checking created. For the first time in the series the Avs were set to begin a period with the lead.
What a BEAUTY from Compher! #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/47saviasQD— y - Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) April 23, 2023
THE DOGG PUTS US UP BY ONE #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/Itl2CrkEQ3— y - Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) April 23, 2023
The 2nd Period:
Moving into the second period, the goal for the Avs was to maintain the momentum generated by the MacKinnon goal and expand the lead. This time it was Cale Makar’s turn to introduce himself to the series. Off of an offensive zone faceoff the reigning Conn Smythe winner blasted a puck home over the shoulder of Grubauer to double up the Avs lead. Over the next few minutes, Bowen Byram, Artturi Lehkonen, Mikko Rantanen, and J.T. Compher would all find quality scoring opportunities, as the Avs poise began to overwhelm a young Seattle group.
IT’S CALE MAKAR ‼️#GoAvsGo | #OneWayOurWay pic.twitter.com/QPQILB2108— y - Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) April 23, 2023
Then the Kraken was released...
Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak would activate himself from the blueline and breeze past Rantanen, (whose effort on this play left much to be desired), and beat Alexandar Georgiev with a Crosby-esque backhander to cut the defecit in half. Within the next several seconds, the Avs would find themselves playing in their own zone once again, and Devon Toews’ defensive woes continued. He loses a puck battle behind the net to Jared McCann, who’s able to squeak the puck out front for star Matty Beniers, who potted his first career NHL postseason goal to tie the game. Nineteen seconds of poor hockey cost the Avs the two goal lead they had built, and negated all of the good work they did to maintain the lead prior to that shift.
BIG RIG'S GOT SOME MOVES pic.twitter.com/bGvbS9oFaG— x - Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) April 23, 2023
Matty's first career #StanleyCup Playoffs goal and it came at the perfect time pic.twitter.com/N65mgiu3kf— x - Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) April 23, 2023
The 3rd Period:
The third period began, and the Avs quickly took control of the game, as an experienced Cup defender should against an inexperienced opponent. Three minutes into the frame, a 3-on-2 rush lead by Toews resulted in Rantanen blasting a one-timer past Grubauer, and the writing was on the wall that the Avs were about to take over. On the very next shift, MacKinnon, Rantanen, Lehkonen, Byram, and Makar put on a clinic, eventually finding the back of the net off of a MacKinnon masterclass. The Kraken would never recover from this burst, as the Avs showed their defensive poise by locking down the remainder of the period up until an empty net goal from the Moose, his second of the period to double up Seattle 6-3. Jaden Schwartz would deflect his own second goal of the game on a late Kraken powerplay to cut the lead to 6-4, but the Avalanche had already spoiled the party.
Mikko puts us in the lead again! #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/qSs6Ro1J1M— y - Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) April 23, 2023
OMFG Nathan MacKinnon— Raj - Altitude Sports Radio (Alex Rajaniemi) (@RajOnRadio) April 23, 2023
Here’s the whole, disgusting shift pic.twitter.com/RFSU2WuVTH
- MacKinnon, Makar, and Rantanen scored five of the six Colorado goals.
- Philipp Grubauer didn’t look sharp in net for Seattle, and tonight the dam finally broke.
- Colorado fell behind early once again tonight, and have surrendered the opening goal in each game of this series.
- Valeri Nichushkin is away from the team and missed the game for “personal reasons” according to Head Coach Jared Bednar after the game.
Game 4 is in Seattle on Monday, April 24th at 8 p.m. MT as the Avalanche hope to take a commanding lead in the series.