Colorado Avalanche Playoff Game Day: Making the Most of Home Ice
Welcome to the Cale Makar show, everyone.
Makar made is NHL debut Monday night, and has already given us a glimpse of the skills he brings to the blue line. He scored his first NHL goal in the first period to contribute to the Avalanche’s 6-2 defeat of the Calgary Flames in Game 3 of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Avs looked strong all night, recording the second most shots (56) in a playoff game in franchise history. The Flames could not score in the first period, and when they found the back of the net in the second, they were already down by four.
The Avs are receiving contributions from the entire team coming into the second home game of this series. On Monday, 11 different skaters contributed to the offense. Nathan MacKinnon scored twice, along with one each from Mikko Rantanen and Erik Johnson, and Matt Nieto scored another shorthand goal.
If the Avs can keep up this output, they will be good shape on Wednesday.
Makar was in the lineup to replace injured the Sam Girard (upper body). Girard was on the ice at Tuesday’s optional morning skate, but he was in a non-contact sweater. After the performance Makar put on, it would be hard for Bednar to justify taking him out of the lineup.
There were a few scratches and bruises from Monday’s tussles, but everyone seems to have come out intact and ready to go tonight.
The Flames are going to need to have a stronger start if they want to be able to keep pace with the Avs offensive output. After out-scoring the Avs in the first two games (2-6), the Avs now have more goals in this series (9-8).
They were able to take advantage of one power play goal on Monday, when Sam Bennett scored from Rasmus Anderson and Mikael Backlund. However, the Flames gave up two power play goals and one shorthanded goal as well.
Philipp Grubauer is the key to the Avs success. He stopped 27 of 29 shots faced on Monday night, all while making it look easy. After playing all three games of this series, Grubauer is has only allowed seven goals on 97 attempts, good for a .928 save percentage. Grubauer also has a record of 10-5 at home this season, which bodes well for tonight.
It would be shocking if the Flames start Mike Smith tonight. He gave up six goals on 56 shots on Monday night. David Rittich defeated the Avs twice in the regular season, one of which came at the Pepsi Center in October. He hasn’t played at all this series, but he has been available off the bench. Who the Flames pick to start in net for this game will be a major talking point.
Author: Arielle Gordon