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Late-game scoring barrage leads Avs to 3-0 Game 1 win

Avalanche

Colorado dominated Game 1 of its first-round playoff series against Arizona on Wednesday afternoon in Edmonton, but the game was still scoreless more than halfway through the third period and then the floodgates opened. Nazem Kadri scored a power-play goal at the 13:05 mark, 10 seconds later J.T. Compher put the Avalanche up 2-0 and Mikko Rantanen added the final goal just over a minute later as the Avs won 3-0.

In all Colorado scored three goals in span of 1:23, the third fastest three-goal barrage in Avs’ playoff history.

“It is just a momentum builder, I think. We have seen games in the playoffs before – a team dominates and the opposition still be in the game and able to scrape out wins. It was just a matter of time. Their goaltender played great and gave their team an opportunity to win, but that being said, we just stayed relentless, stayed on the puck and we knew it was going to come sooner or later.”

Nazem Kadri said after the game.

Overshadowed by the late-game scoring binge was Avs goalie Philipp Grubauer who stopped all 14 shots he faced to earn his second career playoff shutout. With the win he also moved into sole possession of second place on Colorado’s all-time playoff wins list with nine. He’s only slightly behind leader Patrick Roy who won 81 playoff games and two Stanley Cup titles with the Avalanche.

The best-of-seven series resumes with Game 2 on Friday at noon (NHL Network, Altitude, 92.5 FM).

  • TheDNVR.com’s Evan Rawal posted his Avs’ player grades, and despite the 3-0 win, there’s no doubt Colorado could play even better going forward.
  • The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla wrote about how Colorado’s play in Game 1 shows that they have what it takes to win the Stanley Cup.
  • The 14 shots allowed by Colorado was a playoff record low for the team.
DateTime (MT)Home team
Fri., Aug. 14NoonColorado
Sat., Aug. 151 p.m.Arizona
Mon., Aug. 173:30 p.m.Arizona
*Wed., Aug. 19TBDColorado
*Fri., Aug. 21TBDArizona
*Sun., Aug. 23TBDColorado
Remaining schedule in Avalanche-Coyotes first-round series.
*If necessary. All games played at Rogers Place, Edmonton.

Nuggets

On Wednesday night the Nuggets once again decided to rest their starters for the bulk of the fourth quarter and in doing so lost to the Clippers 124-111 and set themselves up with a first-round matchup against their division rival Jazz.

The Nuggets loss locked them into the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference meaning they’ll face sixth-seeded Utah in the best-of-seven first round series.

As for Wednesday night’s game, Denver clearly was more interested in keeping guys fresh for the playoffs as nine players logged more than 19 minutes, with Nikola Jokić and Jerami Grant leading the way with 28 minutes a piece. Grant led the team in scoring (25 points), while Jokić had 17 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds.

My thoughts: Not only did the Nuggets sweep the season series against Utah, but based on the other possible matchup I don’t think Denver could ask for a better first-round opponent. Had the Nuggets won their final two games and the Clippers lost both of theirs, Denver would have faced a Dallas team lead by Luka Dončić.

The Jazz are a tough team, and the Nuggets will have to play well to win the best-of-seven series, but they should. I’m not sure the same would have been true against the Mavericks.

  • Head coach Michael Malone is hopeful that Denver can get injured players Will Barton (knee) and Gary Harris (hip) back for the team’s series against Utah. Both Harris and Barton were starters before the break in the NBA season, the question is whether they’ll both remain so when the return. Doing so most likely would mean sitting down Michael Porter Jr. who has been stellar during the seeding games.
  • Only one NBA playoff spot still is up for grabs, with the Phoenix Suns, Memphis Grizzles, San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers all battling for the right to take on the top-seeded Lakers in Round 1 of the Western Conference playoffs. All four teams play today, so we’ll know the two teams who will face off in the play-in by the end of the night.

Rockies

Nolan Arenado homered twice, but it wasn’t enough to stop Colorado from losing its first series of the season as the Rockies’ bullpen got hammered in a 13-7 loss to Arizona on Wednesday afternoon at Coors Field.

Charlie Blackmon saw his 15-game hitting streak come to an end as he went 0-for-4, his batting average is still a remarkable .472.

The score was tied at 5 going into the seventh inning, then reliever Tyler Kinley came on and gave five runs on four hits and a walk, while failing to record an out. Yency Almonte replaced him and give up three more runs, all unearned, before the inning ended with Colorado trailing 13-5.

The Rockies (12-6) are still in first place in the NL West, a half game ahead of the Dodgers (12-7).

  • Colorado is off today before welcoming in Texas for a three-game series starting Friday (6:40 p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM) when Ryan Castellani (0-0, 0.00 ERA) faces the Rangers’ Lance Lynn (2-0, 1.16 ERA).
  • Daniel Bard’s return to the big leagues this season has been well documented, but his stats this season are arguably even more impressive so far.
  • The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders answered readers questions including what the Rockies need to do to beat the Dodgers this season and the latest on prospect Brendan Rodgers.

Broncos

TheDNVR.com’s Andrew Mason wrote about how the Broncos will find leadership from both older and younger players alike this season.

  • Meanwhile, for you draft junkies out there, ESPN.com’s Todd McShay released his early first-round predictions for the 2021 NFL draft. He had the Broncos selecting Texas offensive lineman Samuel Cosmi with the 12th pick overall.

Colleges

Buffzone.com has tons of coverage about the Pac-12’s decision to postpone all sports until 2021. Their stories include CU athletics likely to layoff and furlough employees, but not cut sports, football head coach Karl Dorrell looking forward after the postponement and parents dealing with mixed emotions over the announcement.

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Rockies Opening Day arrives at long last

Rockies

It’s three-and-a-half months later than originally planned, but Opening Day for the Rockies has arrived at last.

In somewhat unexpected news rookie, former first-round pick Brendan Rodgers was left off Colorado’s 30-man roster to start the season. Instead, Rodgers will go to the Rockies alternate training site.

As for the Rockies, they open play tonight at Globe Life Field in Texas against the Rangers at 6 p.m. (AT&T SportsNet, KOA 850 AM). German Marquez will square off against the Rangers’ Lance Lynn.

  • Righty Peter Lambert meanwhile saw his season end before it started as it was announced he’ll have Tommy John surgery on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Chances are likely his 2021 season is over as well.
  • It was announced on Thursday that baseball will have expanded playoffs this season, with eight teams from each league making the playoffs.
    The top two teams in each division will qualify and then the next two teams also will. The first round will be a best-of-three series with all three games hosted by the higher seed.
    My thoughts: I love this and which it would be the format going forward. How much fun is it when your team is out of the playoff race with two or three months to go in the season. The more teams with a chance to win it all the better.
    And while the one-game playoff was somewhat exciting, in baseball I just don’t think it works.

Nuggets

The Bol Bol hype machine was working overtime on Wednesday after the rookie’s impressive first NBA game, albeit in a scrimmage. But The Denver Post’s Sean Keller talked with former NBA All-Star Paul Pierce who quickly turned the hype machine off. Pierce said it was way too early to get too excited about Bol.

My thoughts: I couldn’t agree more. The final line of 16 points, 10 rebound and six blocks is exciting, some of the plays he made were thrilling, but it was literally an exhibition game coming off a four-month layoff for a pandemic.

Bol could go on to be Hall of Famer and we’ll look back on Wednesday as his coming out party. But he could also just as easily be the next Nikoloz Tskitishvili and leave us all wondering what could have been.

The other question is how much will we even get to see of Bol once the action starts up for real. Head coach Michael Malone was reticent to play Michael Porter Jr. big minutes earlier this season, what to say anything different will happen with Bol.

Broncos

Today Denver Post position-by-position preview focused on Denver’s outside linebackers.

My thoughts: When it comes to the Broncos outside linebackers everyone seems to focus on two players. Von Miller and whether he can return to the player he was before last season or if he’s now beginning a steady decline. And Bradley Chubb and how much he’s doing to help this defense as he returns from ACL surgery.

When it comes to Miller I think he still has a few very productive years left. Last year was simply a down year, they happen to everyone.

As for Chubb, there’s one important point that keeps getting ignored. This is Chubb’s second ACL surgery on the same knee, he previously tore the ACL back in high school. I really hope he never has anymore problems with injuries, but as we’ve seen with tight end Jake Butt once you start having reoccurring knee problems they can be come a never-ending cycle.

If, however, Chubb can stay healthy and Miller returns to form, this unit could be one of the Broncos’ best.

Avalanche

Before the NHL shutdown for four months due to COVID-19 the Avs seemed to be constantly battling injuries. As soon as one player returned it seemed someone else went down. Unfortunately things haven’t changed much for Colorado.

Cale Makar returned to the ice on Thursday, but Nathan MacKinnon was absent. Due to the NHL’s new policy regarding player’s health there’s no word on the exact situation with either player.

Rapids

The Denver Post wrote about when Jonathan Lewis is finally going to get more playing time. As of right now Lewis has been a regular sub and for the most part he’s been the best player when he’s been on the field.

As for the Rapids as a whole, the question now turns to what’s next. The MLS is Back Tournament is still going, without the eliminated Rapids of course, but afterward the league has yet to announce when the rest of the season is expected to start.

As it stands the Rapids head home and will continue training and simply waiting to hear what the plan will be.

CSU Rams

Colorado State wide receiver Warren Jackson was selected as the preseason offensive player of the year as voted on by the media.

Jackson, a senior, is coming off a season in which he caught 77 passes for 1,119 yards and eight touchdowns. It’s the second time a receiver has been selected as the preseason offensive player of the year. When was the first time you ask? That would be in 2015 when fellow Ram Rashard Wiggins was tabbed.

Golf

The CoBank Colorado Open got underway yesterday and as the only woman in the field Jennifer Kupcho got off to a solid start with a 1-under par 70.