Denver Sports Omelette: Avalanche dominates Predators, but Colorado’s performance was far from perfect

AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post Ryan Ellis (4) of the Nashville Predators defends Mikko Rantanen (96) of the Colorado Avalanche as he looks to wrap around against Pekka Rinne (35) during the first period on Monday, April 16, 2018. The Colorado Avalanche hosted the Nashville Predators.

Now that’s what I call fighting back. Avalanche coach Jared Bednar has said repeatedly that he thinks Colorado has been better at 5-on-5 hockey against the Predators than Nashville and that was obvious Monday. The Avs’ first four goals in their Game 3 victory came at even strength, with the fifth against an empty net.

By upsetting the Predators in dominant fashion, Colorado has guaranteed a trip back to Music City for a Game 5. Win again Wednesday, and there will be at least one more game on home ice for the Avs.

Here are the highs and lows from the Avs’ 5-3 victory Monday:

Highlights

What’s new? Just like Games 1 and 2, the Avs scored first, but it took them twice as many shots as it did at Bridgestone Arena to find the back of the net. Yes, Monday it took Colorado two shots to score with Blake Comeau popping in a one-timer from Carl Soderberg less than two minutes into the game.

This is new. Colorado went ahead 1-0 in its previous two playoff games, but never did its lead extend beyond a single goal. The Avs went up 3-0 in the first period with subsequent goals from Gabriel Bourque and Nathan MacKinnon. In the second period, MacKinnon scored again, putting the Avs ahead 4-0.

Lowlights

Dilly! Dilly! We knew this was going to be a chippy game going in. The Avs hung with the Predators in Nashville but ultimately gave both games away in the third periods; they had something to prove Monday and ultimately did so successfully. But Colorado put itself at risk in the process, constantly finding itself a man down on the ice. The Avs spent 12 minutes in the penalty box. Luckily for them, goalie Jonathan Bernier was up to the task.

Power play. The Avs continued to struggle to turn a man-advantage into points Monday, failing to score on all five of their power play chances. Colorado has one power-play goal in 13 opportunities this season, that coming on a 5-on-3 on Saturday in Nashville.

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Must-Read

Chris Iannetta turned 35 on April 8. The broad-shouldered catcher admits, without a trace of regret, that he doesn’t have the same spring in his step that he did as a Rockies rookie back in 2007. Read more…

From an undrafted free agent to a Super Bowl champion, C.J. Anderson made the most of his time as a Denver Bronco. Now, that time in Denver is over. Read more…

Blake Comeau looks around the Avalanche dressing room and accepts the truth. He’s an old man playing a young man’s game. Read more…

Nathan MacKinnon and the gritty little Avalanche have done the rest of the NHL a favor, revealing the Nashville Predators as great pretenders in the chase for the Stanley Cup. Read more…

Quick Hits

+ P.K. Subban sucker punched Nathan MacKinnon, but the Avalanche aren’t dwelling on the cheap shot.

+ Avalanche vs. Predators skirmish tracker from tense, physical Game 3 at Pepsi Center.

+ Postgame chatter: Avalanche assesses its Game 3 win over Nashville.

+ Lisa Rainsberger no longer “the last U.S. woman to win Boston Marathon,” and she cried for joy when it happened.

+ Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi wins men’s Boston Marathon. Colorado’s Tyler Pennel finishes fourth.

+ Rockies intrigued with the idea of DJ LeMahieu leading off, Charlie Blackmon in traditional power role.

+ Inside German Marquez’s excellent start in the Rockies’ win over the Pirates.

+ Colorado Buffaloes men’s basketball signs JUCO All-American Shane Gatling to NLI.

+ Lakewood woman conquers rain, coldest Boston Marathon in 3 decades rocking her Red Rocks poncho.

+ Denver hoops star Chauncey Billups to open restaurant, jazz club in Five Points’ Rossonian Hotel, developer says.

By The Numbers

8

Parting Shot

Kathy Willens, The Associated PressBryce Harper.

In a startling display, the Washington Nationals slugger broke his bat into two pieces, yet still hit a long home run Monday night against the New York Mets. Read more…

Get in Touch

If you see something that’s cause for question or have a comment, thought or suggestion, email me at dboniface@denverpost.com or tweet me @danielboniface.

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