Avalanche defeat Predators in Game 3, on verge of sweep

NASHVILLE – Gabriel Landeskog had two goals and two assists, and the Colorado Avalanche are on the verge of sweeping the Nashville Predators following a 7-3 win in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday.

The Avalanche lead the best-of-7 series 3-0. Game 4 will be played here Monday.

“There’s no easy games in the playoffs,” Landeskog said. “They’ve got their backs against the wall at home. They definitely do not want to get swept at home. We want to try to end this thing and do not give them any life, so it’s going to be a big game on Monday. “

Nazem Kadri and Devon Toews each had a goal and an assist, and Cale Makar had three assists for Colorado, the No. 1 seed from the Central Division.

Video: COL @ NSH, Gm3: Landeskog nets his 2nd of the period

Darcy Kuemper made nine saves on 10 shots before leaving at 19:03 of the first period after Predators forward Ryan Johansen‘s stick hit him in the eye through his mask. He was replaced by Pavel Francouzwho made 18 saves on 20 shots.

“I did not see what happened initially to Darcy, but I only saw that he was having a lot of pain and I was sure that I’m going in the right way,” Francouz said. “It’s always tough when you see a goalie get hurt, but you have to focus all of your thoughts on the game, on the puck, so that was something I was trying to do. I had huge support from my teammates.”

[RELATED: Complete Avalanche vs. Predators series coverage]

Colorado coach Jared Bednar said Kuemper’s injury was not too serious and did not rule him out for Game 4.

“He’s doing better, and we’ll get him further evaluated,” Bednar said. “He’s got some swelling there, obviously was unable to return, but hopefully he’s doing good and is able to get back in the net.”

Matt Duchene scored his third goal of the series, Alexandre Carrier had two assists, and Connor Ingram made 34 saves for Nashville, the second wild card in the Western Conference.

The Predators are trailing 3-0 in a Stanley Cup Playoff series for the first time in their history.

“We liked our game, [and I] thought we played a lot better than we did in the first two games, “Predators captain Roman Josi said. “[We’ve] got to stay aggressive. There’s not one person in this room that does not believe that we can turn this around. We’re going to come out Monday and play aggressive. … We believe we can beat this team. “

Video: COL @ NSH, Gm3: Duchene’s quick release top shelf

Artturi Lehkonen gave Colorado a 1-0 lead at 10:45 of the first period when he redirected a one-timer from the point by Toews on the power play.

It was the first of four power-play goals on five opportunities for the Avalanche, who are 6-for-14 with the man-advantage in the series. Colorado was 0-for-4 in a 2-1 overtime win in Game 2 on Thursday.

“We finished on them tonight,” Bednar said. “Good attack mentality again, and just taking what they gave us and weren’t afraid to put the puck to the net and go there.”

Nathan MacKinnon made it 2-0 at 16:08 on the power play, scoring his fourth goal of the series during a goalmouth scramble.

Duchene cut the lead to 2-1 at 17:37, scoring from the left circle and over the shoulder of Kuemper, and Eeli Tolvanen tied it 2-2 on the power play at 5:41 of the second with a one-timer from the left circle for his first NHL playoff goal.

Landeskog gave the Avalanche a 3-2 lead at 10:58 on the power play, knocking in his second rebound attempt.

Josi tied it 3-3 at 12:54, scoring on a power play with a one-timer through a screen by Filip Forsberg.

Video: COL @ NSH, Gm3: Josi rips a PPG from the blue line

Landeskog responded again to put Colorado in front 4-3 at 14:02 with a wrist shot from the slot.

The Predators challenged the play for goaltender interference, but a video review confirmed Nashville forward Mikael Granlund caused Lehkonen to make contact with Ingram.

On the ensuing power play, Kadri extended the lead to 5-3 at 14:41 when Ingram played the puck from behind the net right to him in front.

“Obviously, it was a swing,” Predators coach John Hynes said. “We review these things [for] basically every goalie interference call that goes through. You review it and, in our opinion, you take all those things into account. But we felt in our review and judgment that it was goaltender interference. “

Toews extended the lead to 6-3 at 9:33 of the third period with a slap shot from the top of the left face-off circle, and Valeri Nichushkin shot into an empty net at 17:14 for the 7-3 final.

NOTES: Makar has seven points in the series (two goals, five assists). … MacKinnon has scored in three straight games (four goals), tying Claude Lemieux (1997) and Peter Forsberg (1996) for the second-longest streak to open the playoffs in Colorado / Quebec Nordiques history. Michel Goulet scored in five straight with Quebec in 1985.… Predators defenseman Mark Borowiecki (upper body), and forwards Michael McCarron and Nick Cousins did not play.

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