The Colorado offense exploded for seven goals in a 7-1 Game 4 rout of Arizona on Monday, leaving the Avalanche one game away from advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Matt Nieto got things started for the Avs late in the first period and then Nazem Kadri added two goals of his own before the first intermission to give Colorado a 3-0 lead. Joonas Donskoi added one in the second and then a trio of goals in the third came from Cale Makar, Matt Calvert and Mikko Rantanen as Colorado scored seven goals in a playoff game for the first time since 2002.
Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper, who was almost single-handedly keeping the Coyotes in the series, was replaced to start the third period.
“It was nice to get a few past him. We didn’t change anything, honestly. We just got some bounces. We know we’re one of the best goal-scoring teams in the league this year, so try to stick with it. We’re such a deep team that eventually it was going to go in.”Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon said about Kuemper.
The Avs will try to close out the series on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. (NBCSN, Altitude, 92.5 FM).
- MacKinnon got into a scuffle late in the game with Arizona’s Christian Fischer after Makar was roughed up on a dangerous hit by Lawson Crouse. MacKinnon threw Fischer to the ice and delivered a couple punches as well, Calvert had this to say about the fight:
“I think Fischer cross-checked the wrong guy in the face. You saw what Nate did to him. He absolutely manhandled him. Probably could have thrown 10 punches and knocked him out. I’m glad he didn’t throw the punches … They try to get to him and he’s just bigger than them.”
- The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers had five takeaways from Game 4, including how important Kadri has been to Colorado so far in the postseason.
- TheDNVR.com’s Evan Rawal handed out his Game 4 grades, not surprisingly a lot of the Avs got pretty high marks.
- Avalanche-Coyotes results and schedule
|Game 1||Colorado 3, Arizona 0||Box score|
|Game 2||Colorado 3, Arizona 2||Box score|
|Game 3||Arizona 4, Colorado 2||Box score|
|Game 4||Colorado 7, Arizona 1||Box score|
|Game 5||Colorado 7, Arizona 1||Box score|
Donovan Mitchell scored 57 points, the third most in NBA playoff history, but it wasn’t enough as Jamal Murray stole the show late and the Nuggets rallied to beat the Jazz 135-125 in overtime in Game 1 Monday.
Only Hall of Famers Michael Jordan (63) and Elgin Baylor (61) have scored more points in a single playoff game than Mitchell did.
Murray scored 36 points for Denver, including 10 in the extra period to help secure the win. As for Mitchell’s performance, when asked after the game Denver’s Nikola Jokić summed it up perfectly, “Not good for us.”
Fortunately, Jokić was plenty good for the Nuggets too, he finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in the win. Jokić did miss a running hook shot at the end of regulation that would have won it for Denver.
But it was Murray who won this one for Denver. With less than four minutes to play in the fourth he had just 16 points, but during the final 8:13 of the game he went off for 20 points, grabbed three rebounds and added two assists.
“No fans, it was a lot of trash talking, good trash talking. It was fun, and that’s how us basketball players like it when you can go at each other respectfully and see who’s got more bullets.”Murray said after the Nuggets thrilling Game 1 overtime win.
Game 2 of the series is Wednesday at 2 p.m. (TNT, Altitude).
- The Post’s Mark Kiszla wrote about the Nuggets win 463 days after losing in Game 7 last year against Portland.
- It wasn’t all A’s for the Nuggets in Brendan Vogt’s play grades for TheDNVR, as a few players had rough starts to the 2020 playoffs.
- Before the playoffs started TheAthletic.com released its latest NBA Power Rankings. The Nuggets checked in at No. 8, while the Jazz came in at No. 13.
- Nuggets-Jazz results and schedule
|Game 1||Denver 135, Utah 125, OT||Box Score|
|Game 2||Utah 124, Denver 105||Box score|
|Game 3||Utah 124, Denver 87||Box score|
|Game 4||Utah 129, Denver 127||Box score|
|Game 5||Denver 117, Utah 107||Box score|
|Game 6||Denver 1197, Utah 107||Box score|
|Game 7||Denver 80, Utah 78||Box score|
Left Kyle Freeland continued his redemption tour with a solid six-inning outing in Houston, but the Rockies offense managed just two hits in a 2-1 loss to the Astros on Monday night.
Freeland now has quality starts in all five of his outings this season, tied for the second-longest streak to begin a season in franchise history. He’s got a long way to go to catch the record holder though, that would be Ubaldo Jiménez who had 14 in a row to start the 2010 season.
Colorado’s lone run came on a solo homer by Trevor Story in the third inning. It also was Colorado’s only hit until Charlie Blackmon led off the ninth with a single.
“It hurts when (Freeland) goes out there and does his job and the bullpen does, too, but we couldn’t do what we needed to do offensively. It’s on us.”Story said of the offense’s inability to score more than one run Monday.
Story’s home run was the 130th of his career, tying him with Matt Holliday for 10th on the Rockies’ all-time home runs list.
- Game 2 of the teams’ four-game series is this afternoon at 1:10 p.m. (AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM). Antonio Senzatela (3-0, 3.91 ERA) gets the start for Colorado against Houston’s Zack Greinke (1-0, 2.53 ERA).
- The Rockies got some good news Monday as Carlos Estévez did not break his hand after being hit by a comebacker at the end of Sunday’s game. As of right now Estévez will avoid the injured list.
- Colorado did make a move before the game though, placing backup catcher Elias Díaz on the restricted list for violating team rules and protocols. Manager Bud Black would not elaborate on what the specific violation was. Right-handed pitcher Ashton Goudeau was recalled to replace Díaz on the roster.
Head coach Vic Fangio described his team’s first padded practice, which lasted just 90 minutes, as “just OK.”
Tight end Austin Fort, coming back from knee surgery, missed his third day of practice and appears to be headed towards injured reserve. The Broncos are scheduled to practice again today.
- TheDNVR’s Ryan Koenigsberg wrote about why Monday’s practice was important for quarterback Drew Lock.
- Lock meanwhile talked about being committed to being cautious when it comes to COVID-19.
- TheAthletic looked at which non-playoff teams from last season have the best chance of making the postseason this year. They apparently don’t like the Broncos chances, as they ranked Denver No. 11 just ahead of the Chargers and behind the Falcons, Rams, Cardinals and Raiders among others. The Cowboys topped the list.
CU men’s basketball player Evan Battey will represent Colorado on inaugural National Association of Basketball Coaches Player Development Coalition. Battey is one of 11 players named to the group which will meet four times a year and provide feedback about various issues facing basketball players.