Home / World News / Avalanche builds 4-0 lead in Game Three, defeats Nashville to guarantee return trip to Music City – The Denver Post

Avalanche builds 4-0 lead in Game Three, defeats Nashville to guarantee return trip to Music City – The Denver Post

It turns out the Pepsi Center can provide the same kind of home-ice advantage as Bridgestone Arena, the Nashville Predators’ home that sits adjacent to Lower Broadway and the country-music capital of the world.

The Preds were in-tune for Games 1 and 2, scoring five goals in each to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the seven-game Western Conference first-round playoff series.

But Monday in Game 3 at the Pepsi Center, the underdog Avalanche and its crowd overwhelmed the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Preds by building a 4-0 lead en route to a 5-3 victory.

BOX SCORE: Avalanche 5, Predators 3

“We felt pretty good coming out of those first two games,” said Avs coach Jared Bednar, whose team scored on its first shot in both games in Music City. “Our guys were ready to go right from the start tonight. Great energy in the building. Fans were awesome. Our guys were energized and we were on our toes and the aggressors early in that game and it paid off for us.”

This series could go a lot further than most pundits predicted. The young-and-relentless Avs — who host the Preds for Game 4 on Wednesday — aren’t going away. They tied a club record with 28 victories at home during the regular season and continued that hot play Monday, dominating the Predators from the jump to win their first playoff game in four years.

Their victory Monday snapped a 12-game losing streak to the Preds, who last lost to the Avs a little more than two years ago.

Center Nathan MacKinnon and wingers Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen — the “MGM Line” — were spectacular, producing the Avs’ third and fourth goals, with MacKinnon scoring both. Landeskog scored an empty-netter with 1:36 remaining to make it 5-2. Blake Comeau and Gabriel Bourque got the first two goals as Colorado scored first for the third consecutive game.

“We got the first two goals in Nashville and ended up losing. That being said, I like our chances when we score first. We’re a lot better team,” Comeau said. “We’ve been really good at home this year. We fed off the crowd’s energy tonight. It was a big win. Obviously, knowing going down 0-3 was going to be a huge hill to climb. So to get the first one in our arena is a good step.”

The Avs took a 3-0 advantage with MacKinnon’s first goal off a fabulous neutral-zone effort by Landeskog. The team captain, from his knees, stole the puck from Mike Fisher and spotted MacKinnon driving through the neutral zone. He put the puck on MacKinnon’ stick to spring the speedster on a breakaway. MacKinnon beat goalie Pekka Rinnie with a glove-side wrister.

“Obviously, climbing out of 0-2 is a big difference from 0-3,” Landeskog said. “That’s a real big hole that you’re in. But right now we’re happy with the way we played tonight. I thought we came out and answered the bell and really came out with a lot of energy.”

The MGM Line scored again to end the night for Rinne, the Vezina Trophy candidate as the NHL’s top goalie. After killing off a Tyson Barrie penalty in the final minute of the first period and the beginning of the second, MacKinnon beat Rinne with wrist shot from between the circles. Landeskog and Rantanen got the assists by working around Rinne, who was pulled for backup Juuse Saros, who did not allow a goal.

At the outset, the Avs used some gamesmanship by starting their fourth line of center J.T. Compher and wingers Colin Wilson and Bourque. Perhaps it suggested the Avs would throw a four-line attack at the Preds, but still take advantage of having last change and using the MGM Line in favorable matchups between whistles.

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