Categories
Avalanche

Avs-Stars Game 7 today at 2 p.m. on USA

In what can only be described as an embarrassing decision and a slap in the face to both Avalanche and Stars players as well as their fan bases the NHL announced late last night the start time for the teams’ Game 7.

It will be this afternoon at 2 p.m. and the game will be televised on USA, interrupting what was supposed to be a 14-hour “Law and Order: SVU” marathon.

The decision was made when the Vancouver Canucks beat the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 6 of that series to force a Game 7, which will be Friday evening at 7 p.m.

I understand that having both Western Conference series taking place in the same arena is a challenge, but the solution isn’t that difficult. Give Vegas and Vancouver a day off and have Game 7 Saturday.

I’m sure the players were aware of the possibility earlier than we as fans and media were, but still to just find out the game time for the biggest game of your season less than 24 hours in advance is a joke. And for fans to potentially not be able to watch because they have regular jobs and again weren’t given enough advance warning to take the day off is just as bad.

And listen, the channel a game is on shouldn’t really matter, once you’re tuned in it’s all the same. But compare the NBA to the NHL, the Nuggets and Jazz goes seven and it’s on prime time on ABC, while the Avs-Stars series on a Friday afternoon on USA. Just embarrassing.

Avs-Stars series 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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Categories
Avalanche

Hutchinson, MacKinnon lead Avs to Game 7

Michael Hutchinson stopped 27-of-28 shots and Nathan MacKinnon extended his points streak to 14 games with a goal and an assists as the Avalanche beat the Stars 4-1 Wednesday night to force a Game 7 in the teams’ Western Conference semifinals series.

It marks the first time in Colorado has ever forced a Game 7 after being down 3-1 in a playoff series. Game 7 is scheduled for Friday night, with the time of the game yet to be announced.

“We battled back, had a good second (period) and really locked it down in the third. We were really responsible defensively. No turnovers, and just a solid game from everyone in the lineup.”

MacKinnon said after the Avs’ win.

How the Avs won

Colorado fell behind late in the first period when Dallas’ Miro Heiskanen scored with 2:25 seconds to play. Colorado answered with arguably the biggest goal of the game when Nikita Zadorov scored with only 32 seconds to go, sending the teams into the first intermission locked up at 1-1.

Cale Makar scored what would prove to be the game-winning goal at the 7:48 mark of the second period on assists from Mikko Rantanen and Sam Girard. Makar was crashing the net after a shot attempt by Girard. The rebound came to Rantanen who flip it to Makar. Makar promptly banged the puck off the face mask of Dallas goalie Anton Khudobin and into the net.

Colorado got a big insurance goal early in the third period when MacKinnon delivered a picture-perfect pass over the stick of a Stars defender and Rantanen hammered it past a sprawling Khudobin. MacKinnon scored the final goal late in the period after Dallas had pulled Khudobin for an extra attacker.

Makar makes history

Makar’s goal in the second period gave him 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) so far in the postseason, setting a new record for the most points by a rookie defenseman in the NHL playoffs.

“For these past two games, our mindset has changed. We have a team that’s going to fight until the end.”

Makar said after Game 6

It is obviously a great accomplishment for Makar, but one that’s a little misleading if we’re being honest. Makar played in 10 playoff games last season for Colorado and then 57 regular season games this season. Add in the five-month layoff during the pandemic and simply put it’s hard to consider him a rookie at this point.

Hutchinson saves Avs’ season

As The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla wrote, Hutchinson, Colorado’s third-string goalie, has become the most unlikely of miracle workers in Denver sports since Tim Tebow.

“The whole entire situation … is absurd and surreal.”

Hutchinson said.

Through the first four games of the series Dallas was averaging almost five goals a game. But since Hutchinson replaced Pavel Francouz in net, who had replaced an injured Philipp Grubauer, the Stars have managed just four goals total in Games 5 and 6.

There’s not telling how long the magic will last, but in a year that has seen plenty of disappointments, Hutchinson gives hope to any of us struggling out there. He had this to say when asked if he worried he’d never get his shot:

“Numerous times in my career. My career has been a long journey … There’s always moments when you get sent down that you think you’re never going to play another NHL game.”

Avs history in Game 7s

After being down 3-1 in the series, the Avs have accomplished something just by getting to a winner-take-all game. Now the real challenge becomes winning it.

The Avs are 4-7 in Game 7s since moving from Quebec to Colorado prior to the 1995-96 season, including losing last year to San Jose in Game 7 in the second round last year. In fact Colorado has lost the past four Game 7s its played in. The Avs last Game 7 victory came in the Western Conference semifinals against the Sharks back in 2002.

“In terms of Game 7, it’s my third one. I guess I haven’t won one yet. Looking to change that in a couple days here. Excited for the challenge. It’s going to be the toughest game for us to win.”

MacKinnon had to say after Wednesday night’s game.

Dallas has lost the past three Games 7s it has played in, including in last year’s playoffs. The Stars got bounced in semifinals as well, when St. Louis knocked them off 2-1 in double overtime.

“I mean, we all know what happened last year. We were in this position, a chance to win it in Game 6, on home ice. Technically, you could say tonight was home ice. Game 7, we lost last year. So we have a chance to redeem ourselves. I definitely do think, as an organization, we’ve been trending in the right way, and this is the next step. It’s going to be a big one for us in a couple of days.”

Dallas forward Tyler Seguin said.

Game 6 highlights

Highlights from Colorado’s 4-1 win in Game 6 against the Star

Avalanche-Stars series 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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Categories
Avalanche

Five-goal first period keeps Avs’ hopes alive

The Avalanche scored five goals in the first period, including four in a span of 2:36, on Monday night to beat the Stars 6-3 and avoid elimination. Colorado still trails the best-of-seven series 3-2 with Game 6 scheduled for Wednesday night at 6 p.m. (NBCSN).

The Avs turned to their third starting goaltender of the series on Monday as Michael Hutchinson, acquired at the trade deadline, got the start. It was Hutchinson’s first start in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Second-string goalie Pavel Francouz, who had started the previous three games after Philip Grubauer was injured, was deemed “unfit to play.”

“It’s what you work for as a kid, and you dream about when playing in the backyard, is to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs. I was excited and looking forward to the opportunity.”

Hutchinson said after the game.

Scoring barage

As for Colorado’s offense, it set club records for goals (five) and shots (23) in any playoff period. The four goals in 2:36, that was just one second shy of the NHL playoff record, set by Montreal back in 1944. All of it added up to a 5-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare got things started 4:37 into the opening period and then the blitz began a little over halfway though the period. Here’s how it looked on the scoresheet:

  • Andre Burakovsky, 11:51
  • Nathan MacKinnon, 12:32
  • Kazem Kadri, 13:43
  • Mikko Rantanen, 14:27

After Kadri’s goal Dallas replaced Ben Bishop who was making his first start of the series. In all Bishop allowed four goals on 15 shots. He was replaced by Anton Khudobin who finished the game with two goals allowed on 20 shots.

“We were shooting a lot of pucks, we were going to the net, we were making it tough for (Bishop). Tough start for him to not being able to play for a while and to come in and face a lot of shots. I think we did a really good job there.”

Burakovsky said of his team’s play in the first period.

In all 13 of Colorado’s 18 skaters had a point, and MacKinnon extended his NHL best point streak to 13 games with a goal and an assist.

Highlights from the Avs 6-3 win in Game 5 on Monday night.

One-timers

The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla wrote that if defense is what’s needed to win championships then this year’s Avs team has zero chance to win the Stanley Cup … but at least it’s a fun ride with MacKinnon and company.

Avs-Stars series 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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Avs-Stars Game 7 today at 2 p.m. on USA

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Hutchinson, MacKinnon lead Avs to Game 7

Michael Hutchinson stopped 27-of-28 shots and Nathan MacKinnon extended his points streak to 14 games with a goal and an assists as the Avalanche beat the Stars 4-1 Wednesday night to force a Game 7 in the teams’ Western Conference semifinals series. It marks the first time in Colorado has ever forced a Game 7 […]

Categories
Avalanche

After Game 4 loss, Avs facing elimination tonight

For the third time in four games the Stars scored five goals en route to beating the Avalanche 5-4 on Sunday afternoon to put Colorado on the brink of elimination.

Dallas now leads the best-of-seven series 3-1 with Game 5 tonight at 7:45 p.m. (NBCSN).

Offense not the issue

Colorado has scored 15 goals through four games against Dallas, the problem obviously is the fact that they have allowed a stunning 19 goals against so far.

“It feels like they score in bunches right now. They’re very opportunistic. Obviously, some of that’s on us. When they get one, they get two or three right now. We got to limit that. You know, the series isn’t over. We’re going to be ready for Game 5.”

Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon said after the game.

The deciding goal in Sunday’s game was scored after defenseman Cale Makar and starting goalie Pavel Francouz fumbled with the puck and turned it over in front of the net where Dallas’ Denis Gurianov knocked it in to put the Stars ahead 5-2 less than halfway through the third period.

At that point Francouz was pulled for third-string goalie Michael Hutchinson.

As much as the defense and play in net have been an issue, the amount of penalties Colorado is taking and what Dallas is doing with its power-play opportunities has been just as crucial. The Stars went 3-for-6 on the power play in Game 4.

“It’s the penalties that we’re taking and their power play is feeding their offense and their energy right now. We take a couple penalties early and they capitalize on them. I give our team credit for battling back and scratching and clawing through the second period, but, I say it all the time — catch up hockey is losing hockey. We got to have a better start than that and (fewer) penalties. They’re too dangerous. We got to stay out of the box.”

Avs coach Jared Bednar said after the loss.

No help coming for Colorado

The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers wrote that the Avs won’t be getting defenseman Erik Johnson or forwards Matt Calvert and Joonas Donskoi back for tonight’s Game 5. And starting goalie Philipp Grubauer likely is done for the series, if not the entire postseason.

MacKinnon keeps streaking

With an assist on Makar’s second period goal MacKinnon extended his playoff point streak to 12 games. It’s the longest in club history and the longest in the NHL since 2010 with Chicago’s Jonathan Toews scored in 13 straight games and Detroit’s Johan Franzen scored in 12 in a row.

One-timers

The Post’s Mark Kiszla wrote how Makar’s “blunder for the ages” defines this playoff series for the Avs.

My thoughts: It was a bad play, but to call it a blunder for the ages is extreme. I can remember Patrick Roy making a similar mistake during a playoff series years ago. And the fact is this one felt more like a miscommunication between Makar and Francouz than anything else. A bad mistake sure, but not one that will life in infamy next to Rahim Moore and Bill Buckner.

  • TheDNVR.com’s Evan Rawal handed out his player grades after the game and not surprisingly there were plenty of Ds and Fs handed out.
  • The Avs managed to block just nine shots Sunday, while the Stars were credited with 22.

Avs-Stars series 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
Stars lead best-of-seven series 3-1
DateTime (MT)Home teamTV
Mon., Aug. 317:45 p.m.ColoradoNBCSN
*Wed., Sept. 2TBDDallasTBD
*Fri., Sept. 4TBDColoradoTBD
*If necessary, all games played at Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta

Avs-Stars Game 4 highlights

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Categories
Avalanche

Avs-Stars Game 4 moved to Sunday at 4 p.m.

With the NHL and its players postponing games Thursday and Friday, Game 4 of the Avalanche-Stars series has been pushed back to Sunday at 4 p.m. MST. It was originally scheduled to be played Friday night.

Game 5 will now be on Monday at 7:45 p.m. If Games 6 and 7 are needed they’ll be played next Wednesday and Friday with the game times to be determined.

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

Categories
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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The Avalanche scored five goals in the first period, including four in a span of 2:36, on Monday night to beat the Stars 6-3 and avoid elimination. Colorado still trails the best-of-seven series 3-2 with Game 6 scheduled for Wednesday night at 6 p.m. (NBCSN). The Avs turned to their third starting goaltender of the […]

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Avalanche

Avs blow 2-0 lead in Game 2 loss vs. Stars

Colorado went from having a 2-0 lead midway through the second period to a facing a 4-2 deficit by the time the second intermission arrived, en route to a 5-2 loss to Dallas on Monday night in Edmonton. With the win the Stars now lead the best-of-seven series 2-0 with Game 3 set for Wednesday night.

The Avalanche built up its 2-0 advantage thanks to a goal and an assist from Nathan MacKinnon but when Dallas went on a two-man advantage in the second period everything fell apart for Colorado.

“We got the game in our hands there, really through the first 30 minutes of the game until they get a power play, and then I think it’s a soft call to get them a 5-on-3 for almost two minutes.”

Avalanche captain Gabe Landeskog had to say after the game.

The Stars scored two power-play goals 63 seconds apart, one with a 5-on-3 advantage, the other at 5-on-4, to tie the score 2-2. Dallas scored twice more before the second period finally came to an end for the Avs, although the fourth goal wasn’t without controversy.

It was ruled on the ice that Dallas’ Esa Lindell scored with 46 seconds to go in the period, but upon video review it was not possible to confirm the puck ever crossed the goal line.

“That 4-2 goal, I don’t know how they’re going to explain this one. We’re still waiting for an explanation on this one. I don’t know how that’s going to happen. Either way, we got to find a way to get more scoring chances in the third.”

Landeskog said about the controversial goal.

Despite needing to win four of the next five games in the series, Landeskog and company are nowhere close to throwing in the towel.

“It’s a seven-game series for a reason. We feel, more than anything, we’re in this thing. We’ve been up 2-0 before and we know how quickly it can turn and all of a sudden it’s a tight series. So, for us, like I said, it’s a seven-game series for a reason and there’s no quit in this group.”

Landeskog said after the game.
  • TheAthletic.com’s Ryan S. Clark wrote in depth about how the Avs lost their 2-0 lead and why they couldn’t manage to get it back.
  • TheDNVR.com’s Evan Rawal handed out his player grades and lets just said Andre Burakovsky, Ryan Graves, Vladislav Namestnikov and J.T. Compher might need to do a little extra credit if they expect a passing grade at the end of the year.
  • The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers wrote about how Colorado’s scoring depth has suddenly dried up in the first two games of the Western Conference semifinals.
  • 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

Categories
Avalanche

Avs-Stars schedule announced

The NHL announced on Friday that the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs will begin on Saturday night with the Colorado Avalanche facing off against the Dallas Stars at 6 p.m. and will be televised on NBC.

The rest of the scheduled was announced late and will see the two teams facing off late at night for games 3, 4 and 5. The rest of the game and TV times will be determined later based on how the various series progress.

Colorado advanced to the Western Conference semifinals by beating the Arizona Coyotes 4-1 in the best-of-seven series. While the Stars ousted the Calgary Flames 4-2.

Colorado and Dallas have met four times previously in the playoffs, with both teams winning twice. The Stars won the first two series, while the Avs have taken the past two.

Avalanche-Stars series schedule

DateTime (MT)Home teamTV
Sat., Aug. 226 p.m.ColoradoNBC
Mon., Aug. 247:45 p.m.ColoradoNBCSN
Wed., Aug. 268:30 p.m.DallasNBCSN
Fri., Aug. 288 p.m.DallasNBCSN
*Sun., Aug. 30TBDColoradoTBD
Mon., Aug. 31TBDDallasTBD
Wed., Sept. 2TBDColoradoTBD
*If necessary, all games played at Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta
Categories
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.

The series schedule has yet to be announced.

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Categories
Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams Nuggets Rockies

Avs rout Coyotes, take 3-1 series lead

Avalanche

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
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

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).

GameResult
Game 1Denver 135, Utah 125, OTBox Score
Game 2Utah 124, Denver 105Box score
Game 3Utah 124, Denver 87Box score
Game 4Utah 129, Denver 127Box score
Game 5Denver 117, Utah 107Box score
Game 6Denver 1197, Utah 107Box score
Game 7Denver 80, Utah 78Box score
Nuggets win best-of-seven series tied 4-3

Rockies

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.

Broncos

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 Buffs

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.