The Kuemper fortress has been broken.
After falling to the Arizona Coyotes in Game 3 by a final score of 4-2, the Colorado Avalanche came out swinging in the first period, tallying 3 goals in the first period and limiting the Coyotes to three shots in the opening frame.
In what could only be described as a complete team performance, the Avalanche blitzed the Coyotes en route to a 7-1 victory. While multiple Avs players put up multi-point performances, one of the main players who stood out from the rest was Avs forward Nazem Kadri, who tallied 3 points (2 goals, 1 assist) in the victory.
It didn’t take long for the Avalanche to gain control of the game, as they took a 1-0 lead at 14:07 of the opening frame as Avs forward Matt Nieto deflected a pass from Calvert on a 2-on-1 to give the Avalanche the lead.
A couple of minutes later, Kadri tallied his first goal of the game at 16:07 on the power play when he jumped on a loose puck in front of Darcy Kuemper. He wouldn’t be done there, however, as Kadri increased the lead to 3-0 at 19:39 of the first period with another powerplay goal, converting on a rebound in front of the net that came from a Nathan MacKinnon shot.
A famous phrase in hockey is that a three goal lead is the worst lead in hockey. However, this would not apply to the Avalanche as they continue to put pressure on the Coyotes, as Joonas Donskoi would convert on a 2-on-1 rush with Andre Burakovsky to extend the Avs lead.
The Coyotes would ruin Grubauer’s shutout bid at the 13:31 mark of the second period as Coyotes defenseman Jacob Chychrun found the back of the net. That goal would close out the period and the Avalanche held the 4-1 lead heading into the final frame.
Scoring the last goal of the second period, the Coyotes were probably thinking they would carry the momentum to attempt a comeback. The Coyotes would replace Kuemper in net for backup goaltender Antti Raanta to begin the third period.
However a comeback would not be in the cards for the Coyotes, as Makar had other plans. Only 19 seconds into the final frame, Makar would pick up a pass from the side board and go coast-to-coast for a highlight reel goal to give the Avs the 5-1 lead and squash any momentum the Coyotes may have built from their powerplay goal in the second period.
Calvert converted on MacKinnon’s pass at 2:57 for the 6-1 lead and Rantanen tipped Erik Johnson’s slapshot from the point at 16:24 to give the Avalanche the 7-1 lead, putting this game to bed.
Things would get chippy towards the end of the game, as Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse checked Makar into the boards from behind, drawing attention from everyone on the ice. Out from the pile, MacKinnon ended up ragdolling Coyotes forward Christian Fischer shortly after Fischer cross-checked MacKinnon to the face — a mistake he should never forget.
While we do not know the extent of the injury, Arizona lost Conor Garland in the middle of the second period. Both sides have had some “unfit to play” players heading into this game, as Colorado forward Vladislav Namestnikov and Arizona forward Nick Schmaltz were ruled unfit to play before the game.
Player of the Game
With two goals and an assist in the Avs 7-1 victory over the Coyotes, Kadri continues to be one of the best players for the Avalanche. After being suspended in his last two postseason appearances with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Kadri has had 0 penalty minutes through his first six games — all while tallying six points (2 goals, 4 assists).
I asked Kadri about this postgame:
"We exchanged some words and I felt like he gave me a couple extra shots that were unnecessary and I had to let him know about it.
— Scott MacDonald (@0ffScottFree) August 18, 2020
The Avalanche will be looking to advance to the second round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs when they face the Coyotes on Wednesday, August 19 at 3:30 p.m. MDT.