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Avalanche

Avs blow third-period lead, battle back to win

Colorado started the third period with a two-goal lead (3-1), but surrendered three goals and trailed Dallas by one (4-3) with less than 10 minutes to go play on Wednesday night. Suddenly the Avalanche’s season was on the precipice of ending, that was until Colorado got goals from Mikko Rantanen, Nazem Kadri and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to rally and beat the Stars 6-4.

Instead of being down an almost insurmountable 3-0 hole, the Avs are in a much more manageable spot at 2-1 behind in the Western Conference semifinal series. Game 4 is scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m. (NBCSN).

As for how Colorado managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, here’s what Kadri, who scored the game winner, had to say afterward:

“It’s just composure. As a team we got good leaders and just focusing on the end result. We play to the last whistle. I think that has been pretty evident thus far in the playoffs. We never really think the game’s over until it actually is over. Obviously, we’re not happy giving up that lead and we gotta lock it down and play better. But coming up with wins and knowing inside that locker room we still have more to give.”

In all six goals were scored during the wild third period that actually ended exactly how it all began, with the Avs leading by two.

How we got there

Dallas scored the first goal of the game when Tyler Seguin snuck one past Colorado goalie Pavel Francouz just over midway through the first period. The teams went to intermission with Dallas leading 1-0.

Colorado didn’t take long to answer in the second as Nikita Zadorov scored just one minute into the period on an assist from Kadri. Less than four minutes late Andre Burakovsky’s goal put the Avs in front. And with exactly nine minutes to play in the second Gabriel Landeskog scored to give Colorado the two-goal cushion.

What’s next for Colorado?

As TheAthletic.com’s Ryan S. Clark wrote, despite the win in Game 3 Colorado still has more questions than answers due to the blown lead in the third period.

“For us, it’s gut check time. It’s not how we drew it up going into the third period like that. We get some unfortunate bad breaks but I think we just stuck to it. We stuck to our game plan and we trusted that it would pull through. … I know everybody believes in this group. It’s just being able to go out and execute.”

Colorado’s defenseman Cale Makar said after the game.

Meanwhile, fellow defenseman Zadorov was injured during the game and was unable to play in the third period, his status for Friday’s Game 4 is yet to be determined. Before getting injured Zadorov was having a great game, as head coach Jared Bednar reference during his postgame press conference.

“I give our guys all the props for fighting through those injuries today. And for Zadorov, I thought the way we wanted our D to step up and play a better game and he was a guy we needed more out of. We had some conversations over the last few days and we moved him with Girard. I thought he was outstanding. Huge impact in the game. Physically engaged. In on a couple games. There was no rest on his game. It was hard. It was impactful on a shift-to-shift basis. That’s what we needed.”

Bednar said after the Avs’ 6-4 win Wednesday night in Edmonton.

Players address boycotts, racial injustice

After the game Avalanche players addressed the boycotts that took place in the NBA playoffs and various Major League Baseball games Wednesday night, as well as racial injustice as a whole in our country, as detailed by The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers.

“This is a problem that has gone on far too long. The signs and hockey (operations team) is great and everything but eventually words get stale and it’s about action and making a difference.”

Kadri said of American police shooting Black civilians.

“For us, it’s a matter where a lot of players and a lot of superstars in this league have spoken out, and put out statements through their channels and used their platform to voice their opinions which is sometimes a little bit unusual for hockey players who like to stay private. But this has gone on way too long for this country and it needs to change. What the next steps from here are, I’m not sure. I don’t have those answers, but I think as a hockey community we stay tight-nit and at this point, I think we all support change in this country.”

Landeskog said.

Bednar wasn’t actually aware of what was going on in the other sports until he arrived at Rogers Place.

“I wasn’t watching any TV or really around on social media before the game. I can’t comment on what everyone was thinking. No players had come to me and said, ‘Hey, we’re thinking about not playing’ or anything. So it was kind of business as usual in our room. Obviously, now, having got the backstories and the stories from the NBA players not playing, I thought about it and if our players, even one player, had come to me and said, ‘Hey, I don’t think we should play’ we would have addressed it as a team. But I never got word from anyone in our room and the league hadn’t said that the players were thinking about not playing. So it was just (about) staying focused and business as usual.”

One-timers

  • Nathan MacKinnon had two assists in the game, stretching his postseason scoring streak to 11 games and breaking the Avs’ franchise record that had been held by Joe Sakic from back in 1996.
    MacKinnon’s 20 playoff points leads the NHL and is the most from a Colorado player since Peter Forsberg had 27 in 2002.
  • Colorado played without forwards Joonas Donskoi and Matt Calvert, defenseman Erik Johnson and goalie Philipp Grubauer in Game 3.

Avalanche-Stars results and schedule

GameResult
Game 1Dallas 5, Colorado 3Box score
Game 2Dallas 5, Colorado 2Box score
Game 3Colorado 6, Dallas 4Box score
Game 4Dallas 5, Colorado 4Box score
Game 5Colorado 6, Dallas 3Box score
Game 6Colorado 4, Dallas 1Box score
Best-of-seven series tied 3-3
DateTime (MT)Home teamTV
Fri., Sept. 42 p.m.ColoradoUSA
All games played at Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta

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Avalanche

Avs face pivotal Game 3 tonight vs. Stars

As The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers wrote, if history is a guide, then the Avalanche’s current 2-0 series deficit to the Stars could prove fatal. Colorado has trailed 2-0 in a series five times previously, and only once have they managed to comeback and win.

That one time was in the 1999 Western Conference semifinals against the Detroit Red Wings. Colorado won the ensuing four games to eliminate Detroit. The next four times the Avs fell behind 2-0 they would lose the series.

As Chambers also wrote though, what happened to previous Colorado teams has no bearing on this year’s team. And not only that, with the Stanley Cup playoffs taking place in a bubble this year, and home-ice advantage simply being a matter of who gets the final line change, things are definitely different right now.

Francouz needs to step up

With regular starting goalie Philipp Grubauer out indefinitely, if the Avs are going to rally they’ll need Pavel Francouz to improve his play in net.

“This is something I’ve always dreamed about, so it’s a huge chance for me. It depends on me how I take this responsibility and help the team to win four more games.”

Francouz said of the opportunity to lead the Avs in net.

While losing Grubauer definitely was a big blow for Colorado, the reality is Francouz started 31 games during the regular season and led the team with 21 wins. His save percentage of .923 was fifth overall in the NHL and his goals-against average of 2.41 was seventh best, making him the first Avs goalie to finish in the Top 10 of both since David Aebischer in 2003-2004.

Avs head coach Jared Bednar was straight to the point when addressing Francouz’s play in net, saying:

“Frankie is going to have to get the job done.”

If Colorado is going to come back in its Western Conference semifinals series against Dallas it start tonight with Game 3 at 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN).

One-timers

  • In news around the NHL on Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs agreed to a six-player trade. The Penguins acquired Kasperi Kapanen, Pontus Aberg and Jesper Lindgren, while the Maple Leafs received Evan Rodrigues, Filip Hallander, David Warsofsky and the Penguins first-round pick (No. 15) in this year’s draft.

Avalanche-Stars results and schedule

GameResult
Game 1Dallas 5, Colorado 3Box score
Game 2Dallas 5, Colorado 2Box score
Game 3Colorado 6, Dallas 4Box score
Game 4Dallas 5, Colorado 4Box score
Game 5Colorado 6, Dallas 3Box score
Game 6Colorado 4, Dallas 1Box score
Best-of-seven series tied 3-3
DateTime (MT)Home teamTV
Fri., Sept. 42 p.m.ColoradoUSA
All games played at Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta

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Avalanche

Avs to face Stars in West semifinals

When Dallas fell behind Calgary 3-0 early in Game 6 Thursday night it looked like Colorado would need to wait a little while longer to find out its opponent for the Western Conference semifinals. But the Stars scored the final seven goals to extinguish the Flames 7-3 and set up a matchup between Dallas and Colorado.

“Now getting into the final eight … it’s just going to come down to execution and who can elevate their game. Every team has a chance to win it in this thing, maybe this year more than any other year.”

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said.

Dallas won all four games the teams played during the regular season, but Colorado rolled over the Stars 4-0 during the round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup qualifiers prior to the first round of the playoffs.

Colorado and Dallas have been four times previously in the playoffs with each team winning twice. Colorado fans might recall that Dallas eliminated the Avs in Game 7 in back-to-back Western Conference Finals in 1999 and 2000. Colorado won the past two series in five games, both in the 2004 and 2006 Western Conference quarterfinals.

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Avalanche Broncos Nuggets Rockies

Avs looking to take 2-0 series lead

Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche will look to take a 2-0 series lead today against Arizona in the teams’ first-round playoff series. The Avs won Game 1 3-0 after scoring three goals in a span of 1:23 in the third period.

It’s a quick turnaround then as Game 3 is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday.

Avs head coach Jared Bednar has yet to reveal who will be starting in goal for any of the remaining games of the series, but with a back-to-back there’s a chance that Pavel Francouz could get one of the starts, most likely in Game 3.

Avs-Coyotes schedule and results

GameResult
Game 1Colorado 3, Arizona 0Box score
Game 2Colorado 3, Arizona 2Box score
Game 3Arizona 4, Colorado 2Box score
Game 4Colorado 7, Arizona 1Box score
Game 5Colorado 7, Arizona 1Box score
Colorado wins best-of-seven series 4-1

Nuggets

The Nuggets play their final seeding game today against Toronto (11:30 a.m., Altitude), but it basically will be an exhibition as all the playoff seeds have been set. The Nuggets finished as the third seed and will face No. 6 Utah in the first round starting Monday.

The rest of the first-round schedule was set and will see division rivals Denver and Utah square off with one day off between each game, the complete schedule is listed below.

DateTime (MT)Channels
Mon., Aug. 1711:30 a.m.ESPN, Altitude
Wed., Aug. 192 p.m.TNT, Altitude
Fri., Aug. 212 p.m.TNT, Altitude
Sun., Aug. 237 p.m.TNT, Altitude
*Tue., Aug. 25TBDTBD, Altitude
*Thur., Aug. 27TBDTBD, Altitude
Sat., Aug. 29TBDTBD, Altitude
*If necessary, all games played on neutral court in Orlando

Rockies

The Rockies will look to end their two-game losing streak as they welcome in the Rangers for a three-game series starting tonight (6:40 p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM) at Coors Field.

Rookie Ryan Castellani (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will be making his second career start and first at home for Colorado, while Lance Lynn (2-0, 1.16 ERA) gets the start for Texas.

The Denver Post’s Kyle Newman wrote about how two years spent in Double-A working and refining his craft paved the way for Castellani to reach the majors.

  • MLB.com took at look at trade deadline questions for the five National League West teams. For the Rockies the question was whether Jairo Díaz can handle the closer role? If not Colorado might need to acquire someone via trade. And the fact is with the bullpen’s struggles of late the Rockies might want to do so regardless of how Díaz pitches going forward.

Broncos

The Broncos have their first training camp practice today, just a day before the team was originally scheduled to open the preseason before COVID-19 changed everything around.

Now, with the preseason scrapped entirely, the focus is 100% on Denver’s first game Monday, Sept. 14 against Tennessee at Empower Field.

With that in mind The Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran, Kyle Newman and Mark Kiszla weighed in on six of the most pressing questions facing the Broncos.

  • With training camp closed to fans this season DenverBroncos.com still is giving fans the chance to watch training camp online. The site will have a daily, one-hour show hosted by Steve Atwater. You’ll be able to tune in every day at 9:15 a.m. via DenverBroncos.com, the Broncos365 app, as well as on Facebook and YouTube.
  • TheDNVR.com’s Andrew Mason looked at what to expect as training camp 2020 opens.
  • And lastly, TheAthletic.com ranked all NFL teams based on continuity. They looked at coaches and quarterbacks returning as well as all expected snaps from the previous year coming back. Where did that leave the Broncos? No. 18, that’s ahead of the Chargers (25th), but behind both the Chiefs (1st) and Raiders (9th).

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Avalanche Broncos Nuggets Rockies

Porter, Murray shine in Nuggets’ final scrimmage

Nuggets

Michael Porter Jr. returned to action during Denver’s final scrimmage on Monday night and in doing so quickly made Nuggets fans remember what they were so excited about earlier this season. Porter scored 19 points (8-of-13 shooting) and grabbed seven rebounds in just 20 minutes of action.

Another positive development for Denver was point guard Jamal Murray’s return as well. Murray added 23 points (8-of-12) in 25 minutes. The fact that the Nuggets lost 114-110 to Orlando was inconsequential.

Porter, who was dealing with a sprained ankle before the shutdown, said he’s back to full health, both physically and mentally.

“I feel like I’m in a great headspace. I know we got a lot of good players, but my goal, right now, I’m not coming in here just trying to blend in with the team. I’m trying to do my part to help this team win a championship. I think I can be a big part of that.”

Michael Porter Jr.

The next time the Nuggets take the court the game will count again as they face Miami on Saturday (11 a.m., ESPN).

Rockies

The Denver Post‘s Patrick Saunders wrote today about how Colorado’s bullpen has been solid after the season’s first three games. He also added that it’s way too early to read too much into things though.

My thoughts: I couldn’t agree with Patrick more. He does an excellent job of pointing out that although Rockies relievers allowed just one run in 9 2/3 innings, they were in enough trouble that it’s hard to imagine them getting out of it had the games been at Coors Field.

He also pointed out that one of Colorado’s best relievers, Scott Oberg, will miss Friday’s home opener with a sore back and when he’ll return is yet unknown.

  • Next up for Colorado is a quick two-game series in Oakland against the A’s starting tonight (7:40 p.m., AT&T SportsNet, 850 AM). Antonio Senzatela will start for the Rockies tonight and Germán Márquez is scheduled to pitch on Wednesday (1:40 p.m.).
  • Colorado added first base prospect Michael Toglia to its 2020 player pool, while left-handed reliever Tim Collins withdrew from Colorado’s satellite camp and will not pitch this season.
    Toglia was the Rockies first-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft.
  • Former Rockies reliever Bryan Shaw blamed his struggles in Colorado on Coors Field.

“I got there and the sliders didn’t work. It didn’t matter what we did. We tried to tinker with it. We tried to change it. We tried to do different stuff and it just basically fell by the wayside.”

Bryan Shaw to The Seattle Times

Avalanche

Things are ramping up quickly as the NHL gets ready for its restart. The Avalanche arrived in Edmonton, host city for the Western Conference playoffs, on Sunday and had their first practice on Monday.

Colorado head coach Jared Bednar is impressed with the setup so far.

“Every team has their own players lounge/lunch/dinner room. We’ve been in there a couple times and there are some commons areas as well, to be able to go hang out and mingle. It is a really nice setup. And being right across the rink from where you’re (going to be) playing is great.”

Jared Bednar via Zoom

Colorado has an exhibition game against Minnesota on Wednesday (12:30 p.m., Altitude) before opening up round-robin play on Sunday vs. St. Louis (4:30 p.m.).

Broncos

The Broncos cornerbacks and safeties were front and center as both The Denver Post and TheDNVR.com wrote about them. And with good reason, there’s a lot of questions when it comes to the Broncos secondary.

My thoughts: Overall I like what Denver did this offseason. It’ll be weird seeing Chris Harris in a Chargers jersey this season, but it was the right move to make. He’d lost a step or two and just wasn’t the same player he was during most of his time in Denver.

The trade for A.J. Bouye was a nice addition and he likely will be a solid upgrade over Harris. The big question is, what will the Broncos get from Bryce Callahan this season? I’m cautiously optimistic that his foot injury will be behind him and he’ll be able to fill a big hole at cornerback.

Unfortunately it’s also highly possible he won’t be able to bounce back and we’ll look back on that signing as one of the worst in Broncos’ history.

  • Denver cut eight players on Monday and still must release two more today. Waived were: QB Riley Neal, RB Khalfani Muhammad, WR Kelvin McKnight, LB Tre’ Crawford, OL Nico Falah and DBs Kahani Smith and Shakial Taylor. DE Joel Heath was released.
  • TheAthletic.com’s Nick Kosmider took a stab at predicting the Broncos opening 53-man roster.
  • Meanwhile, The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla already is wondering if we’re even going to have an NFL season after the problems baseball is having after its opening weekend.
  • TheAthletic.com released its Quarterback Tiers Rankings. Quarterbacks are ranked by 50 coaches and evaluators and end up in one of five different tiers.
    Where did Denver’s Drew Lock end up? That would be the fourth tier, in a tie for 30th with Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew. There were only 35 QBs who were on the list. However, one of the 50 voters did rank Lock in the second tier.

Sports betting

Last week Wildwood Casino became the first casino to open a retail sportsbook in Cripple Creek.

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Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams Nuggets Rapids

Bol steals the show in Nuggets’ scrimmage

Nuggets

The Bol Bol show is officially the summer blockbuster we’ve all been waiting for. The 7-foot-2 rookie made his NBA debut on Wednesday as the Nuggets beat the Washington Wizards 89-82 in the teams’ first scrimmage of the NBA restart.

Bol finished the game with 16 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots. But that only tells part of the story. The opening act was Denver’s crazy tall lineup (PG – Nikola Jokic, SG – Jerami Grant, SF – Bol, PF – Paul Millsap, C – Mason Plumlee), with no player shorter than 6-8. Next came Bol blocking shots and running the length of the court and knocking down threes.

Bol was one of the top high school recruits and likely would have been one of the top picks in the NBA Draft last year if not for injuries that saw him drop all the way to the Nuggets in the second round.

It’s obviously way too early to get too excited, but especially considering it had been 133 days since the Nuggets last played a game Bol definitely gave Denver fans something to cheer about.

  • The Denver Post is reporting that rookie Michael Porter Jr. is en route to the NBA bubble in Orlando. With the Nuggets being shorthanded this obviously is great news for the team. Now the question is “How will Porter handle no longer being the most hyped rookie on the team?”
  • TheDNVR.com’s Adam Mares broke down various plays of Bol’s and it’s clear, Bol is overflowing with talent.

Avalanche

The NHL always has been more secretive than most leagues when it comes to injuries. In the past players were simply described as having upper or lower body injuries, the league’s new policy to help protect player’s medical privacy during the coronavirus pandemic is even more vague unfortunately.

Colorado Cale Makar missed his third day of practice, as he’s deemed “unfit” to play. Head coach Jared Bednar did not elaborate on when he would be available.

Although, Nathan MacKinnon did tell The Denver Post “I think Cale will be healthy soon, he should be ready to go.”

Here’s hoping MacKinnon’s right, because Makar was a big reason for the Avs’ success in the playoffs last season.

Rockies

In the Rockies’ second and last exhibition game Antonio Senzatela pitched well and Colorado beat Texas 7-3 on Wednesday night. Next up the two teams play for real on Friday night.

Senzatela worked five innings and allowed three runs and picked up the win. On the offensive side Ryan McMahon and Drew Butera homered for the Rockies.

Broncos

The Denver Post continues its look at the Broncos roster, going position-by-position, today focusing on the tight ends.

My thoughts: The TEs could be the difference in this team going 8-8 or stepping up and making the playoffs. There’s so much potential, starting with Noah Fant in particular.

As a rookie Fant had moments where he looked like a future Pro Bowler and potential All-NFL teamer. Unfortunately there were quite a few drops and missed blocks sprinkled in there. The blocks might have been more the coaching staff’s fault for putting the then rookie in bad situations. The drops on the other hand simply need to be corrected.

But if Fant continues to grow and they just get one or two other guys to raise their game a little the tight end position could be a major strength for the 2020 Denver Broncos.

Rapids

Colorado departed the MLS is Back Tournament with a 2-2 draw against Minnesota United on Wednesday night.

Colorado’s Kei Kamara got things started with a goal at the 19-minute mark, it was the 1,000th regular-season goal in Rapids’ history. However, Minnesota took a 2-1 lead into the break.

Rapids sub Jonathan Lewis scored the equalizer for Colorado at the 59-minute mark and that’s how things ended.

The Rapids were officially eliminated earlier in the day when Sporting Kansas City beat Real Salt Lake 2-0. Colorado is now 2-2-1 on the season.

CSU Rams

Colorado State landed four players on the preseason All-MWC team, the most for the team since 2012.