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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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Categories
Avalanche Broncos Nuggets Rockies

Avs rout Coyotes, advance to semifinals

Avalanche

Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and two assists, Nazem Kadri added two goals of his own and Philipp Grubauer stopped all but one shot as the Avs ousted the Coyotes with a resounding 7-1 win Wednesday in Edmonton.

Colorado won Games 4 and 5 of the first-round series by identical 7-1 scores, contests that were much different than the tight opening three games.

Next up for the Avs is a matchup with either Dallas, St. Louis or Vancouver in the Western Conference semifinals. If Dallas wins its series with Calgary, the Stars will be the opponent. If the Flames win then Colorado will face the winner of the Blues-Canucks series.

Dallas currently leads Calgary 3-2, while St. Louis and Vancouver are tied 2-2.

As for Wednesday’s game, it marked the first time in team history Colorado has scored seven goals or more in back-to-back playoff games and the 22 total goals is the most for the Avs in a five-game playoff series.

“Our time has arrived. We haven’t won anything but it’s definitely a different feel after winning this series. We’re a hungry group.”

MacKinnon said after his team’s 7-1 win.
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

Utah blitzed Denver from deep Wednesday, to the tune of 20 made threes, as the Jazz waltzed past the Nuggets 124-105 and evened the best-of-seven series at 1-1.

Not only did the Jazz make a ton of threes in the game, they did so at an alarming rate of 45%, which unfortunately is the same percentage the Nuggets gave up during the eight seeding games.

“I think it’s a matter of executing the game plan, knowing who you’re guarding, understanding the flow of the game, communication. I’m sure when we watch the film it will be all of the above, to your question.”

Nuggets coach Michael Malone said when asked what his team can do to slow the Jazz’s three-point shooting barrage.

Utah was once again led by Donovan Mitchell who finished with 30 points on 6-for-7 shooting from deep. Denver was led by Nikola Jokić and Michael Porter Jr. who each finished with 28 points. The only other Nuggets who scored in double figures were Jamal Murray (14) and Monte Morris (10).

The teams are off today before Game 3 on Friday at 2 p.m. (TNT, Altitude).

GameResult
Game 1Denver 135, Utah 125, OTBox Score
Game 2Utah 124, Denver 105Box score
Best-of-seven series tied 1-1
DateTime (MT)Channels
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 returned home Wednesday, but the results stayed the same as the Astros beat Colorado for the third day in a row, this time by a final score of 13-6.

Colorado has now lost eight of its past 10 games and third baseman Nolan Arenado saw his average fall to .225 after going 0-for-3 Wednesday.

  • Colorado and Houston finish their four-game, home-and-home series this afternoon (1:10 p.m., AT&T Sports Net) at Coors Field as Germán Márquez (2-3, 2.25 ERA) will try to end the Rockies skid against Houston’s Cristian Javier (2-1, 2.91 ERA).
  • In other news Wednesday the Rockies placed outfielder David Dahl on the 10-day IL due to lower back soreness. To take his place on the roster Colorado recalled top prospect Brendan Rodgers. Rodgers didn’t start, but did come on late and went 1-for-2 and drove in a pair of runs.
    My thoughts: The Rockies need to play Rodgers as much as possible. Put him at second base in place of Ryan McMahon who’s hitting .208 and see what he can do. The season is quickly slipping away, so see if Rodgers can provide a spark. It also would allow the club a chance to see how good Rodgers can be at in the majors.

Broncos

Tight end Jake Butt spoke to the media yesterday and talked about how his recovery from his third ACL tear has gone. Among other things he spoke about how he debated coming back at times during his recovery, but he’s now motivated to earn a spot on the Broncos roster.

  • I wrote yesterday how in the battle for the starting center job Austin Schlottmann has gotten the bulk of the work with the first time. Well, yesterday Schlottmann did start with the first team, but rookie Lloyd Cushenberry got his first chance working with the No. 1 offense later in practice.
  • TheDNVR’s Zac Stevens wrote about how rookies other than Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler are starting to step up.
  • Head coach Vic Fangio has been happy with what he’s seen from rookie linebacker Justin Strnad.

Around the globe

Forbes.com released its list of the high-paid female athletes for 2020, amazing the top nine women on the list are all tennis players. Surprisingly, at least to me, Serena Williams checked in at No. 2 on the list behind Naomi Osaka.

The only non-tennis player in the Top 10, at No. 10 is soccer’s Alex Morgan.

Categories
Avalanche Broncos CSU Rams Nuggets Rockies

Nuggets-Jazz open NBA playoffs today at 11:30 a.m.

Nuggets

Nearly 10 months after Denver’s regular season began the playoffs have finally arrived as the Nuggets take on the Jazz in Game 1 of the teams’ first-round series today (11:30 a.m., ESPN, Altitude, 92.5 FM) in Orlando.

The Nuggets swept the season series (3-0) with Utah, but the three games were decided by a total of 11 points, so don’t expect a cakewalk for Nikola Jokić and company.

Denver did receive good news of sorts over the weekend though as Utah starting point guard Mike Conley left the NBA bubble in Orlando for the birth of his son. Due to the NBA’s quarantine protocols Conley is expected to miss at least Games 1 and 2 of the series.

To get your covered on everything Nuggets-Jazz, here’s a roundup of everything being written about the series.

  • TheDNVR.com’s Adam Mares has a great, in-depth breakdown, with plenty of game video, looking at the key battlegrounds in the series.
  • At TheAthletic.com Joe Vardon wrote about team-by-team observations, one of his notes on the Nuggets was that during the training camp portion of life in the bubble Paul Millsap golfed nearly everyday.
  • TheAthletic also has an article with an anonymous scout, coach and exec who pick first-round series winners. All three picked the Nuggets to advance. TheAthletic’s John Hollinger also made his picks and thinks the Nuggets will advance in six games.
  • The Denver Post published its Nuggets playoff guide today and in it they wrote about Michael Porter Jr. and why he has a playoff advantage. As well as five things to watch in the series, how Denver is more confident this year after last season’s playoff experience and Mike Singer also wrote about how the Nuggets have backed up their commitment to social justice while in the bubble.
  • My thoughts: It’s been a long time since the Nuggets were legitimate favorites heading into a playoff series, but there’s no reason they shouldn’t get past the Jazz in five or six games. With Conley being out for the Jazz that makes these first couple games pivotal, Denver needs to win each game he misses and put Utah away as early as possible.
    I want to believe, but I definitely worry about them stumbling a little and having to go seven games, just like last year. Unfortunately, this year they don’t have the home crowd to help if that does happen. I’ll pick them to win in six games.
  • Nuggets-Jazz schedule
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

Avalanche

Shortly after the Nuggets-Jazz game ends the Avalanche face a pivotal Game 4 (3:30 p.m., NBCSN, Altitude, 92.5 FM) in their first-round series against Arizona. Colorado leads the series 2-1, a win would push the Coyotes to the brink of elimination, while a loss would tie the series at 2-2.

TheAthletic’s Ryan S. Clark and Kevin Kurz wrote about how the Avs did all the right things during their loss in Game 3, but unfortunately for Colorado so did Arizona.

  • Through three games it’s clear that Colorado is the better team overall, but with Darcy Kuemper in net for Arizona it could be a problem for the Avs according to The Post’s Mark Kiszla.
  • My thoughts: A hot goalie in hockey is sometimes all a team needs to win a playoff series. Kuemper has been outstanding so far for Arizona, but I think the Avs are just too good overall for him to pull Arizona back.
    The only thing that could change that would be if Philipp Grubauer struggles in net today and the Avs are faced with a goalie controversy. I don’t foresee that happening. Avs still should close out the series in five games.
  • Avalanche-Coyotes results and schedule
GameResult
Game 1Colorado 3, Arizona 0
Game 2Colorado 3, Arizona 2
Game 3Arizona 4, Colorado 2
Colorado leads best-of-seven series 2-1
DateTime (MT)Home teamChannel
Mon., Aug. 173:30 p.m.ArizonaNBCSN, Alt.
Wed., Aug. 19TBDColoradoTBD, Alt.
*Fri., Aug. 21TBDArizonaTBD, Alt.
*Sun., Aug. 23TBDColoradoTBD, Alt.
*If necessary. All games played at Rogers Place, Edmonton

Rockies

Outfielder Raimel Tapia had three hits and Jon Gray pitched seven solid innings as the Rockies ended their three-game losing streak by beating Texas 10-6 on Sunday afternoon at Coors Field.

It was a get-right game for the Rockies and one they hope gets them back on the winning track after Colorado had lost five of its past six games.

Charlie Blackmon went 2-for-3 in the win, ending a mini-slump of sorts after being one of the hottest hitters in baseball. And Ryan McMahon added a three-run homer for the Rockies as well.

  • Sunday wasn’t all good news for the Rockies unfortunately, right-handed reliever Carlos Estévez recorded the final out of the game, but it took getting hit by a comebacker to do so. Estévez replaced Jairo Díaz in the ninth inning after Díaz walked three, including two with the bases loaded. Rockies manager Bud Black said it was too early to know the extent of Estévez’s injury.
    My thoughts: No matter what the situation is with Estévez, the Rockies need to get Díaz out of the closer’s role and put Daniel Bard in it. Díaz was hurt by a McMahon error on Sunday, but Bard clearly has shown that he’s the best person for the job right now.
  • It’s a big week for the Rockies as they open a four-game series in Houston today (7:10 p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM) before heading to L.A. to take on the Dodgers for three straight starting Friday.
  • Left Kyle Freeland (2-0, 2.45 ERA) takes the mound tonight for Colorado against Houston’s Brandon Bielak (2-0, 1.76 ERA).

Broncos

With Training Camp in full swing TheDNVR’s Andrew Mason looked at whether the Broncos will be able to keep running backs Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon happy this season with only so many carries and playing time to go around.

Colleges

Bad news for CU and CSU writes The Post’s Sean Keeler, as according the recruiting experts the Buffs had a bad week, but for the Rams it was even worse.

Categories
Uncategorized

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.